Tite explains why Neymar did not take penalty against Croatia
Brazil manager Tite has admitted that Neymar was due to be the Selecao’s fifth penalty taker before they were eliminated from the World Cup at the hands of Croatia on Friday.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward scored a sensational goal in extra time which looked to have sealed the win for Brazil, only for Croatia to strike back and send the game to penalties, where Rodrygo’s opening effort was saved and fourth-man Marquinhos struck the post to seal their elimination.
It meant that Neymar, the team’s talisman, did not even take a penalty in the shoot-out.
Amid significant criticism from fans, Tite explained the decision to keep the 30-year-old until last.
“He is the fifth and decisive penalty taker,” Tite confirmed. “The player who has more quality and the mentality to step up then is under greatest pressure.”
The decision backfired as Brazil missed two of their four penalties, whereas Croatia scored all four to book their place in the World Cup semi-final.
The shootout defeat was the last event of Tite’s tenure in charge of Brazil, with the 61-year-old also confirming his intention to step down from the Selecao upon the expiry of his contract later this month.