When soccer historians look back on the 2014 FIFA World Cup and remember the broken dream that was Brazil’s quest to win on their home soil, there will be one name absent from this inquest: Neymar.

Regardless of whether or not Brazil wins the third place playoff match against the Netherlands on Saturday, Neymar becomes the mercenary that all Brazilians believe could have made the difference against the Germans.

Unfortunately as a soccer analyst, I can say with the utmost certainty, he would not have. There’s very little evidence proving that had Neymar been fully fit, he could have prevented the 7-1 massacre from occurring.

Neymar is an offensive striker. His skills and ability are cemented in his speed and shot accuracy from outside the box. In order to highlight these skills, he must have the ball in space. Without it, there’s very little Neymar can do. The midfield of Brazil is responsible for giving Neymar pin point passes in space. Through Brazil’s first five games they did a fair to midland job of this, against Germany they were dominated. Finishing ability aside, there simply was no passes in that match for Oscar or Bernard, the two Brazilian wingers who played Neymar’s position on the pitch.

Brazil had an opportunity to score in the first 10 minutes of that match, and if Neymar was going to score, that’s when it would have happened. After that point of the game, The Germans absolutely dominated the ball and had Brazil on its heels. This lasted for over twenty-five minutes and by the time you came back from the bathroom, Brazil was down 5-0. Even with Neymar on the pitch, he would have been stuck in his own box waiting for opportunities to counter from 70 yards away.

Brazil looked lost on the pitch. They seemed unprepared, out of sorts and unmotivated, characteristics that Neymar alone could not have solved. They lacked leadership and discipline, traits that the 22 year old starlet does not list on his current soccer resume. If there was anyone missing from Brazil’s lineup last Tuesday that could have stopped the bleeding, it was not the man that the whole nation will herald and save from their rancor. No, the only man who could have helped El Seleaco that day was their suspended Captain, Thiago Silva.  

Silva’s presence on the pitch, his leadership, his intelligence, his support would have more than likely leveled the playing field slightly. With him on the pitch I believe Brazil is still exposed and loses the match, but by a much more respectable score of 3-1 or less.

Although the fans of Brazil are currently livid, calling for the heads of coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, Fred, Paulinho and others, they will still continue to believe that with Neymar, their savior, they would have beat the Germans and won their sixth World Cup. For now, we can allow Neymar to remain the figure head for hope in a country that needs it, but there’s a reason why they say, “Ignorance is bliss.”