Neymar picked up an ankle injury to blemish Brazil’s hard-fought 2-0 win against Serbia in their World Cup opener, and the PSG forward will undergo a scan to reveal its extent
Neymar made way for Manchester United winger Antony in the 79th minute after spending much of Brazil’s World Cup opener on Thursday being targeting by Serbia’s players. The Paris Saint-Germain forward hobbled off and watched the remainder of the Group G win from the bench before leaving the Lusail Stadium early with the Selecao’s medical staff.
Tottenham striker Richarlison, who was the real star of the show thanks to scoring both of Brazil’s goals, shed light on his teammate’s predicament post-match. “I was able to call Neymar to see how he is doing. It seems he has hurt his ankle,” the 25-year-old explained, with Neymar set to undergo a scan on his ankle to discover the extent of his injury.
“I told him to put a lot of ice on it for him to recover as quickly as possible to have him for the next match. This is the most important thing. When I get to the team hotel, I’m going to see how he’s doing.”
Unfortunately for the five-time World Cup winners and this year’s favourites, team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar gave a concerning update on the 30-year-old’s condition by saying: “Neymar has suffered a right ankle trauma. Due to the impact that he had with the knee of the Serbia player, we immediately started the treatment when he was on the bench.
“With physiotherapy, we need to wait 24 to 48 hours to have a better assessment. We have not scheduled an MRI, but tomorrow we will have a new assessment. We need to wait now, we can’t make any premature comments on his condition. He stayed on the pitch and continued playing for 11 minutes, before he was substituted.”
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In contrast, it was a much more memorable night for Richarlison. The ex-Everton talisman, who signed for Spurs in a £50million deal over the summer, broke the deadlock after 62 minutes with a poacher’s goal.
But his second was down to individual brilliance; using his street footballer instincts to elegantly swivel on his first touch inside the Serbian penalty area before producing an acrobatic finish. Richarlison had repaid manager Tite’s faith in him, describing the second goal as “one of the best” he’s ever scored.
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“I think it was a beautiful goal. I already scored a goal like that for Fluminense and at Everton,” he added. “Today I had the opportunity to make an acrobatic goal, one of the best in my career.”
It wasn’t a straightforward win for Brazil, though, as Serbia battled to keep them at bay for over an hour. But it wasn’t a surprise for Tite’s men, as a confident Richarlison declared: “It’s the World Cup, it was a very tough match for us, so I think it was one of the nicest goals I have ever scored. It’s a wonderful night, we had a beautiful game and now it’s another six games until the final.”