Brazil hopeful Neymar will return despite injury ruling him out of Switzerland clash

PSG star was in tears after suffering ankle sprain against Serbia but may return for Cameroon game

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Brazil remain confident Neymar will be back to help their bid to win the Fifa World Cup after their captain suffered a seemingly serious ankle injury in the opening match against Serbia.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward, the world’s most expensive player, was substituted on 79 minutes in the 2-0 win at Lusail Stadium on Thursday.

Neymar, who was seen crying on the bench and had to be consoled by teammates, was later diagnosed with a sprained ankle. On Friday, he posted images of the injury on social media, which sparked rumours that he could in fact be out for the remainder of the tournament.

Brazil, among the favourites for the trophy, are seeking to lift a record-extending sixth global title. The World Cup concludes on December 18.

As expected, Neymar, 30, has been ruled out of Monday’s Group G clash with Switzerland at the 974 Stadium, along with Brazil right-back Danilo.

On Sunday, manager Tite sounded less certain regarding Neymar than he had immediately after the Serbia victory.

However, he told reporters: "I believe that Neymar and Danilo are going to play again at this World Cup. I do. But medically, clinically, I am in no position to say anything.

"I will keep doing so, not just for Neymar but also Danilo. I believe we are going to be able to use them again."

Meanwhile, defender Marquinhos, a teammate of Neymar’s at PSG, confirmed the team’s star player had been undergoing intensive physiotherapy in order to return as soon possible.

Asked in Doha on Sunday about Neymar’s state of mind, Marquinhos said: "At the time it was difficult for him and after the game he was sad, which I think is normal given how much he has dreamt of this.

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"Now, after the tests and the treatment, he is doing physiotherapy 24 hours a day – that shows how much he wants to be back with us. We don't know when, but we hope it's as soon as possible."

The centre-back added: "Obviously we wanted to have Neymar and Danilo. The coach wanted all 26 players available for the World Cup.

“But we are ready and confident that we can show how strong the squad is, that we are well trained and ready for whatever the tournament throws at us.

"In a World Cup, the team that starts the tournament is not always the team that finishes it, because of injuries or because some are playing better than others. Everyone has an important role to play."

A win for Brazil against Switzerland could secure a place in the knockout stages, although that is dependent on the result in the earlier match on Monday between Cameroon and Serbia. Cameroon also lost their opening group game on Thursday, beaten 1-0 by the Swiss.

Updated: November 27, 2022, 2:45 PM