World Cup: Brazil expects Neymar to play through ankle injury

Soccer Football – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – Group G – Brazil v Serbia – Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar – November 24, 2022 Brazil’s Neymar is pictured after the match REUTERS/Molly Darlington

LUSAIL, Qatar-Brazilian striker Neymar should be fine to continue in the World Cup despite limping off with a swollen ankle during his team’s 2-0 victory over Serbia on Thursday, coach Tite said.

“We are confident that Neymar will continue playing, he will continue playing in the World Cup,” Tite told reporters, confessing that he was initially unaware of his striker’s injury.

“I didn’t see Neymar was hurt. And he had the capacity to overcome this, he even tricked me.”

Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said Brazil would wait 24-48 hours before assessing Neymar’s injury.

The Paris St Germain striker, the most expensive player in the world following his record 222 million-euro ($231 million) transfer from Barcelona, played a pivotal role in Brazil’s win in their first game in Group G in Qatar.

He wriggled into the box to pass to Vinicius Jr. to set up Richarlison for Brazil’s opening goal in the second half.

Later, however, he appeared to be in tears as he left the pitch with a visibly swollen ankle.

That was reminiscent of the back injury which put Neymar out of the World Cup on home soil in 2014.

Match winner Richarlison, who scored a spectacular swiveling overhead volley for Brazil’s second goal, said he had spoken to his teammate to check on his injury.

“It seems he has a hurt ankle and I told him to put a lot of ice on it to recover as soon as possible to have him 100% at the next match. When I get to the hotel, I’m going to go and see how he’s doing,” he said.

Richarlison has now scored nine goals in his last seven games for Brazil and is oozing confidence.

“As our professor, Tite has said ‘I am smelling goals’!” he said. “At half time, I told my colleagues I needed a ball and if I got it, I would score. And that’s what happened.

“We had a beautiful victory and now we have another six games to reach our goal.”

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