Maybe Brazil's harshest critics got it slightly wrong. The team might not have been the biggest flop early in the
So says the Wall Street Journal. With an enviable amount of time on their hands, some staffers slogged through replays of the first 32 tournament matches and calculated the number of downed players writhing in pain -- real, exaggerated or out-and-out fake.
The video evidence suggests that the sultans of flop are the host squad. In two games, Brazilians hit the deck and stayed there for awhile 17 times.
The top individual thespian-wannabe was Brazil's Neymar, who dropped on five occasions with an apparent injury, only to be up and running within 15 seconds.
As it was later graphically displayed, not every Neymar collapse is embellished. He absorbed a knee to the back against Colombia that broke a vertebrae and is out for the duration. (Unless, as Brazil media reported, the team follows the suggestion of a doctor -- who might have worked for any number of NFL teams in the old days -- and gives Neymar an injection that would allow him to suit up for the finals Sunday.)
The most blatant examples of fakery -- or miracle healing -- is players returning to action soon after getting carted off via stretcher. Five of the nine hauled away were back at it within 90 seconds. We're talking about you, DaMarcus Beasley of Team USA.
In all, there were 302 instances of players seeking sympathy or a foul call, nearly 10 per match.