After playing to a 0-0 draw against Bolivia in World Cup qualifying on Thursday, Brazil’s national team was gassed. Photos taken after the game show the entire Brazil squad needing to receive oxygen after playing a full 90 minutes at Bolivia’s Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz, which is 11,932 feet above sea level.
Bolivia’s altitude has long been an issue for opposing teams, who routinely drop points to a Bolivian side that underperforms away from home. After Thursday’s game, Neymar finally had enough and spoke out about it. Posting on his Instagram, the Brazilian striker didn’t hold back: “Inhumane to play in such conditions, field, altitude, ball .. everything bad. But we were happy for the performance of the team even with these conditions.”
After seeing the Paris Saint Germain star’s reaction, soccer fans were quick to call him out, referring to him as soft and spoiled. No one likes a sore loser, especially not one that’s the highest paid player in the world. So it was no surprise that fans came for Neymar. Many pointed to the fact that plenty of actual inhumane things are going on in society that he could talk about instead. Others claimed that if he was really a world class athlete, he would’ve been prepared for the challenging conditions in La Paz.
Brazil’s head coach Tite spoke about the conditions as well, praising his players for playing through it. “I have to praise our professionals for all the logistics of the medical department, that gave all the support to make people feel the effects less.”
Continuing on, the coach said, “The performance surprised. Playing here is very difficult. Strategically, I was very happy. We were upright, offensive. I want to emphasise this great performance. I am happy for the performance but upset about the result.” Despite the draw, Brazil continued their 16-game unbeaten streak in CONMEBOL qualifying, and remain at the top of the table.