By Sarah Gray
July 5, 2018

Germany—the 2014 World Cup champion—is out. Superstar rivals Lionel Messi of Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal have been eliminated, too, as has Egypt’s forward Mohamed Salah.

Arguably, the only widely-known soccer player remaining in the 2018 World Cup is Brazil’s Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. And he’s famous for more than just his deft skill, but also for his hairstyles and dramatic antics on the field.

His rolling on the field during a game against Serbia, after being knocked by an opponent, has become both a meme and a hashtag.

KFC of South Africa is trying to capitalize on this World Cup notoriety in a recent commercial that appears to mock Neymar’s rolling. The ad shows a soccer play hitting the ground and then dramatically rolling off the field and through town before getting up to order KFC.

Diving, the term for soccer players trying to trick referees into thinking that they’re injured, is a controversial tactic aimed at getting referees to call fouls, which can lead to penalty kicks, or yellow or red cards. Neymar’s acting has led to scorn, especially after Brazil’s victories against Serbia and then Mexico. (The Atlantic argues, however, that “Neymar’s trickery deserves absolution, because it is the very source of his greatness.”)

Neymar and Brazil are favored by some to win the World Cup; they’ll face off against Belgium on Friday.

Whether Neymar or the South African KFC commercial will ultimately succeed is unclear. But they’ve certainly captured our attention.

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