Australian football great Craig Foster has hit back at critics of Brazilian players celebrating their goals by dancing together.
Brazil coasted past South Korea 4-1 in the Round of 16 on Tuesday morning, and celebrated each of their first-half goals with joyous dancing – and even manager Tite got in on the act at one point.
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But Irish football great Roy Keane slammed their dancing as ‘disrespectful’, likening it to an episode of British TV show Strictly Come Dancing.
He said on ITV’s coverage of the match: “I can’t believe what I’m watching. Obviously brilliant, brilliant by Brazil.
“Fantastic finish by Vinicius, great start to the game. But I’ve never seen so much dancing. It’s like watching Strictly. I can’t believe what I’m watching.”
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He added: “I don’t like this. People say it’s their culture. But I think that’s really disrespecting the opposition.
“It’s four goals, and they are doing it every time.
“I don’t mind so much the first jig, it’s the one after that, and the manager getting involved. I’m not happy about it. I don’t think it’s good at all.”
Fellow legend Graeme Souness also disapproved of the dancing, labelling it a “shambles”.
He added: “It’s only a matter of time before someone goes right through one of these Brazilians.”
But Australian great Craig Foster hit back at the critics, labelling the complaints ‘utter rubbish’.
“Thank heavens for Brazil in football,” Craig Foster said on SBS’s postgame coverage.
“When they turn it on, it’s a very rare sight, and it is part of the beautiful game. They were one of the nations who invented that at times you can see it again, and you need to see it.”
“I see on social media some people aren’t happy with the dancing – utter rubbish. This is Brazil, this is what it’s about.”
Criticism of Brazilian players dancing in their goal celebrations is nothing new, and has often been tinged with racism.
Vinicius Jnr, who scored Brazil’s first goal, was in September told to “stop playing the monkey” over his goal celebrations. The racist comments came from Pedro Bravo, president of the Spanish football agents association, on live TV.
Real Madrid star Vinicius has also been targeted by rival fans with racist abuse and chants on multiple occasions.
Bravo’s comments sparked fierce condemnation, with Brazil players rallying behind their young forward.
Brazil great Pele – currently in hospital as he battles cancer – tweeted at the time: “Football is joy. It’s a dance. It’s a real party. Although racism still exists, we will not allow that to stop us from continuing to smile. And we will continue to fight racism this way: fighting for our right to be happy.”
Brazil manager Tite even joined in when Richarlison scored another goal-of-the-tournament contender to make it 3-0, copying his player’s famous pigeon dance celebration (a move dating back to a Brazilian pop song in 2012).
Earlier in the tournament, Tite explained the team’s dancing by saying: “Respect for the culture, respect for who we are. It is happiness, it is joy.
“Yes, it is a moment for us to be focused and serious. But there are moments when we can have fun, when we can vibrate. Everyone has their own way. Our way is dancing.”