If one image defines Brazil at this World Cup it will be one of star striker Neymar crying out in pain while demanding action from the referee.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker's theatrics have been widely condemned by former players and football fans during the past three weeks in Russia.

Neymar is hardly the first footballer to be accused of diving and he won't be the last. But the fact that Neymar rolling on the ground seemingly in agony is the main takeaway from the World Cup from Brazil shows how far the five time winners have fallen.

Neymar Jr of Brazil goes down injured. Photo / AP
Neymar Jr of Brazil goes down injured. Photo / AP

The PSG star had a couple of penalty shouts rejected even after the VAR took a look as his reputation came back to haunt him.

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"The problem is he's been diving so much throughout the tournament. Is this the boy that cried wolf? He's his own worst enemy," former Socceroo Craig Foster told SBS after Brazil's 2-1 loss to Belgium this morning. "That's exactly what's happened.

"He's killed himself, the way he's carried on through the tournament. He's ended up killing his team."

Brazil's Neymar, bottom, challenges for the ball with Mexico's Edson Alvarez. Photo / AP
Brazil's Neymar, bottom, challenges for the ball with Mexico's Edson Alvarez. Photo / AP

This World Cup was all about redemption for Brazil.

After the humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals four years ago when Brazil hosted the World Cup, 2018 was about restoring pride.

And when Germany were knocked out in the group stage and Brazil became favourites it seemed like it just might happen.

But Brazil failed to impress in Russia after being knocked out in the quarter-finals on Saturday in their defeat to a Belgium team finally reaching their potential.

Just like four years ago, Brazil sailed through the group stage without really impressing. And even a 2-0 win against Mexico didn't show a team that was a World Cup winner.

And now it's 16 years since Brazil last won the World Cup. That doesn't seem like long for a long suffering England fan looking to add to the 1966 World Cup win.

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But for a Brazil team that dominated the 90s and early 2000s it's a lifetime.

In reality it's been years since Brazil have been the Brazil we all expect. The team that comes to a World Cup with skills and a bit of arrogance and sweeps the world off its feet.

The Brazilian term "jogo bonito" — which means the Beautiful Game, or in many ways the Brazilian way to play — is long dead.

Brazil's Neymar falls on the pitch during the quarterfinal match between Brazil and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena, in Kazan, Russia. Photo / AP.
Brazil's Neymar falls on the pitch during the quarterfinal match between Brazil and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena, in Kazan, Russia. Photo / AP.

Brazil can no longer think that a squad with silky skills can just beat all comers.

The struggles against Germany in 2014 prove that.

Neymar will become public enemy number one for football fans after his on field antics in Russia.

But the bigger debate will be how Brazil return to their former glory.

It's the debate the country was forced to have four years ago. But they find themselves in the same position after another World Cup failure.

It's been the World Cup of seeing the traditional big guns fall from the wayside.

How countries like Argentina, Germany and Brazil respond will determine if Russia was just a blip on the radar or the start of a new world order of football.