LUSAIL, Brazil-born Qatari striker Neymar can continue to qualify for the World Cup despite limping with a swollen ankle during his team’s 2-0 win over Serbia on Thursday, says coach Tite said.
“We are confident that Neymar will continue to play, he will continue to play in the World Cup,” Tite told reporters, admitting that he was initially unaware of the striker’s injury.
“I don’t see Neymar in pain. And he has the ability to get through this, he even tricked me.”
Team doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, said Brazil will wait 24-48 hours before assessing Neymar’s injury.
The Paris St Germain forward, the world’s most expensive player following a record €222 million ($231 million) move from Barcelona, played a key role in Brazil’s victory in his first game. they are in Group G in Qatar.
He wriggled inside the box to pass to Vinicius Jr. assist for Richarlison to open the scoring for Brazil in the second half.
However, he later appeared to be in tears as he walked off the field with a markedly swollen ankle.
That’s reminiscent of the back injury that knocked Neymar out of the 2014 World Cup at home.
Match winner Richarlison, who scored a spectacular swing volley that netted Brazil’s second goal, said he had spoken to his team-mate to check on the injury.
“It looks like he has a sore ankle and I told him to apply lots of ice to recover as soon as possible so that he will be 100% fit in the next game. When I get to the hotel, I’ll go see how he’s doing,” he said.
Richarlison has now scored 9 goals in his last 7 matches for Brazil and is showing confidence.
“As our professor, Tite said ‘I’m smelling the target’!” he say. “In the first half, I told my teammates that I needed the ball and if I had it, I would score. And that’s what happened.
“We had a nice win and now we have six games left to reach our goal.”
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