A press officer threw a stray cat from a table during a World Cup press conference
A press officer for the Brazilian World Cup squad is under fire after a clip of him throwing a stray cat from a table during a press conference with star forward Vinicius Jr went viral.
The Real Madrid forward was speaking to the media ahead of Brazil's quarterfinal clash with Croatia in Qatar on Friday when the feline looked to seize its own 15 minutes of fame and jumped up on the table in front of him.
The 22-year-old Vincius Jr, who has become one of Brazil's chief creative forces since his international debut in 2019, pushed forward with the interview - before the Brazilian staff member intervened by picking up the cat and hurling it from the table.
Vini Jr appeared somewhat stunned by the interjection and was seen emitting a nervous laugh - but thankfully the cat appeared unharmed and was pictured soon afterwards enjoying the remainder of its nine lives.
The clip, though, has swirled around social media in the hours following, with some football fans noting it as little more than a brief moment of levity at the World Cup, and others claiming it was an example of animal cruelty.
"Seeing how a cat was treated by a Brazil NT staff member during a press conference, that's another reason why they don't deserve winning," wrote one fan online in response to the clip.
"If Brazil lose this cat 100% put a curse on them," added another.
It remains to be seen if the incident will inflict some bad karma on Brazil's World Cup ambitions, but Tite's men have so far been in imperious form throughout the tournament in Qatar - save for their shock defeat against Cameroon.
They head into their last-eight showdown with Croatia on the back of a 4-1 drubbing of South Korea, during which their galaxy of attacking talent - Vinicius Jr, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Pacqueta - all found the net before the half-time whistle.
Croatia, meanwhile, labored to a penalty shootout win against Japan after the match finished one goal apiece after extra time.
But if indeed Brazil stumble on Saturday, perhaps it won't be so much down to Luka Modric and co., but instead due to the bad vibes associated with the Brazil staff's unceremonious act of animal control.