It was a moment of relief for the Brazilian fans after the Selecao overcame a spirited Mexico in the last 16 of the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Samara, Russia Monday, riding on the heroics of their superstar Neymar, who scored one and set up Roberto Firmino.
Following the game, both the teams left their respective dressing room and went to their team bus via the mixed zone. The mixed zone is a place where all the players go to attend to the media personnel. However, it is frowned upon for the print media to take pictures or videos of the players.
After a long 1.5 hour wait by the media following the game, the Mexican players started coming out from their dressing room wearing black suits. A few Mexican players like Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Rafael Marquez stopped briefly at the media zone to talk with the journalists.
As expected, the Brazilian players soon arrived to the zone sporting big smiles on their faces. A few players, including goalkeeper Allison directly went to the team bus. Then came Willian, one of Brazil’s best performers from the Mexico game, to the media zone.
It was then Neymar’s turn to talk to the press. After also attending the post-match press conference earlier, Neymar was in jovial mood while holding onto his man of the match award. He shook hands with two Brazilian journalists and also exchanged high fives with a few reporters whom he knows well.
Fortunately, this correspondent caught the attention of the PSG sensation. Neymar smiled at this journalist and reached out his heavily tattooed hand. Safe to say this reporter was extremely delighted and proud after getting to shake hands with the Brazilian footballer.
Thiago Silva was the last Brazilian footballer to come to the media zone. He talked with the assembled correspondents in Portuguese.
Overall, it was stars galore in the mixed zone and this journalist counted himself extremely lucky after exchanging pleasantries with Neymar, one of Brazil’s most loved sons.