Brazil coach Tite 'confident' Neymar will continue at the World Cup despite ankle injury

Brazil striker appeared to be in tears after bring substituted during 2-0 win over Serbia

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Brazilian striker Neymar should recover from an ankle injury that saw him withdrawn during his team's 2-0 victory over Serbia at the World Cup on Thursday, coach Tite said.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.

"Tomorrow we will have a new assessment. Now we need to wait, we cannot make premature comments about his evolution," he told reporters.

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

He was involved in the buildup for Brazil's opening goal, wriggling into the box before passing to Vinicius Jr, who in turn set up goalscorer Richarlison.

Later, however, he appeared to be in tears as he sat on the bench after being substituted following a heavy challenge.

Brazil's Neymar is visibly upset on the bench after he was substituted with an ankle injury. PA

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 swivelling 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 per cent 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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Updated: November 25, 2022, 8:56 AM
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