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Neymar should be fine to go through at the World Cup despite limping with a swollen ankle during his team’s 2-0 win over Serbia on Thursday, coach Tite said.
“We are very confident that Neymar will continue to play, he will continue to play in the World Cup,” Tite told reporters, confessing that he was initially unaware of his striker’s injury.
“I didn’t see that Neymar was injured. And he had the ability to overcome this, he even cheated on me.
Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said Brazil would wait 24 to 48 hours to assess Neymar’s injury.
The Paris St Germain striker, the most expensive player in the world after his record €222 million ($231 million) transfer from Barcelona, played a vital role in Brazil’s victory in their first Group G match in Qatar.
He squeezed into the penalty area to Vinicius Jr. to set up Richarlison for Brazil’s opening goal in the second half.
However, he later turned out to be in tears as he left the field with a visibly swollen ankle.
That was reminiscent of the back injury that Neymar eliminated at the World Cup on home soil in 2014.
Match winner Richarlison, who scored Brazil’s second goal with a spectacular swinging overhead volley, said he had spoken to his teammate to check on his injury.
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“It looks like he has a bruised ankle and I told him to put a lot of ice on it to recover as soon as possible and have him 100% at the next game. When I get to the hotel I’ll see how he’s okay,’ he said.
Richarlison has now scored nine goals in his last seven appearances for Brazil and is exuding confidence.
“As our Professor Tite said, ‘I smell 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 got a nice win and now we have six games left to reach our goal.”