There’s only two Neymars - and one of them’s a waiter

Desert Outtakes: Mason Mount v Neymar, stolen jerseys and the secret to winning a penalty shoot-out

Remarkable resemblance

There was a small but apparently very real bit of commotion in a downtown Doha Puma shop last week when a gaggle of football fans spotted Neymar out and about looking for kicks. Except, of course, it wasn’t the Brazilian superstar. It was a Neymar impersonator who ended up having to be bundled into a back room while the crowd was cleared.

Eigon Oliveira is a Brazilian waiter – former Brazilian waiter? – who has over a million followers on Instagram, purely on the basis of his remarkable resemblance to the PSG and Selecao striker. His waiting days are seemingly behind him now and he lives his life a as a professional lookalike. Neymar is occasionally in on the gag too and has appeared with him in commercials.

Patience might be starting to wear a little thin, all the same. Oliveira reportedly blagged his way down pitchside at one of the matches in Qatar and had to be carted off by security – but only after he had signed autographs and posed for selfies. You never know – against South Korea, Brazil coach Tite became the first coach in this World Cup to field all 26 of his players. Maybe he’ll find room for a 27th before it all ends?

Mount 100 per cent ahead of Neymar

Speaking of Neymar, his return to the Brazil team on Monday night was a good chance to revisit an exchange on the Talksport rotating hamster wheel back at the start of the tournament. You’ve your Jason Cundy and you’ve got you’re Jamie O’Hara and, well, let’s have a quick listen in ...


O’Hara: “For me, Neymar gets in [the England team] ahead of Mason Mount.”

Cundy: “I’ll tell you why Neymar doesn’t get near any team that I want to support – it’s because it’s him. He’s not a team player, mate. He’s not.”

O’Hara: “You’re telling me you’d take Mount ahead of Neymar?”

Cundy: “YES! One hundred per cent!”

O’Hara: “Oh my lord.”

Cundy: “And I’ll tell you why – because Neymar won’t do what Mount does.”

So there we have it. Plenty of games to go yet, of course. But given Mount hasn’t started for England since the USA game, we may have to entertain the possibility that Jason Cundy could have a little of the spoofer about him. More as we get it.

In numbers

6 – According to the wizards at Opta, the last six penalty shoot-outs in a row at World Cups have been won by the teams going second. Historically, the data has always shown it was an advantage to go first, close to 60/40 according to some studies. So this is a massive turnaround.

In words

It was offside, the one where his shoulder was just slightly offside, but the kind of poetry of it, where Roy Keane is almost… it was almost like he was narrating like David Attenborough.

—  ITV presenter Laura Woods on watching Lionel Messi alongside Roy Keane

Canigga reunited with stolen shirt

Big news from Argentina and the city of Cordoba, where World Cup jerseys belonging to the great Claudio Caniggia have been recovered in a police raid. They were stolen from his father’s house in 2014 but police tracked them down after an in-depth investigation that came to a head this past Monday.

Among the jerseys were the one Cannigia wore when scoring the equalising goal in the 1990 World Cup semi-final against Italy and another he wore while bagging a brace against Nigeria in the 1994 tournament. Earlier this year, his girlfriend saw them for sale on the internet and contacted the seller, who looked for a million dollars for them. It was enough to bring the seller to the attention of the Argentinian feds, who chased him down this week.

“Claudio is in Rome,” said his agent on Tuesday. “He is excited and happy with the recovery of these shirts that were very important to him.”

Word of mouth

“I am so happy for Morocco. I think it’s hard maybe for the people who are watching us to put Morocco a map. It is a small country, a poor country where lots of people are suffering.” – French World Cup winner Frank Lebeouf, on ESPN, after Morocco’s win over Belgium.

“I’m really, really sorry. I said that Morocco was difficult to put on the map – for Americans. In some states, we don’t even know that Paris is the capital of France.” – French World Cup winner Frank Lebeouf, on Instagram, after Moroccans heard about it.

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times