Host Brazil is well on its way in this 2014 World Cup, led by star striker Neymar who has delivered a commanding performance.
We’re not talking about the forward’s impressive three goals. Rather, his ability to tag opposing players with yellow cards and kill time on the clock by flailing around the pitch.
A new report from the WSJ.com has tallied up the amount of time teams and players have spent flopped or hunched over in agony, in a fetal position or otherwise rendered lifeless on the field through 32 games.
Brazil tops the rankings, narrowly edging out Chile. In total, there have been 17 injuries among Brazilian players that have stopped play (while time ticks on), the most of any team.
Neymar alone accounts for five of those – the most of any player.
In each case, the Brazilian forward was back on his feet within 15 seconds — just enough time to convince an official to issue a yellow card, or interrupt an opponent’s momentum.
There have been 302 incidences of apparent injury in the tournament through the group stage so far, according to the report.
Of them, nine are unquestionably legit, with players carted off the field and forced to miss the next match.
That leaves 293 cases of potential theatrics that chewed up a total of 118 minutes and 21 seconds.
Perhaps surprisingly, winning teams occupy most of that total — or it may be those on the wrong side of the score play with greater urgency, knowing every second spent on the ground isn’t necessarily earned back in extra time.
There were only 40 injury stoppages by teams that were losing, which claimed a total of 12.5 minutes of game play. The balance was used up by teams that were in the lead.
Of the more serious stoppages in play, or those requiring a stretcher, there was a total of nine times a gurney was pulled onto the field.
In five of those cases, the afflicted player was back on the field within 90 seconds.
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