Tite: 'Neymar will continue to play in the World Cup'

Tite: 'Neymar will continue to play in the World Cup'

Publish on 11/25 at 10:00


Brazil coach Tite was keen to quell the panic felt around Brazil as Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar Jr limped off the pitch with a sprained ankle in the Selecão's electric 2-0 opening World Cup win over Group G rivals Serbia on Wednesday.

It was a thrilling encounter between the five-time World Champions and the former Yugoslav republic, Tottenham striker Richarlison starring with two goals - the second of which, an acrobatic effort on the turn, is the early frontrunner for goal of the tournament - to get the Selecão off to the perfect start.

Cold water

But the samba sounds of Brazilian joy were dampened when playmaker and attacking leader Neymar Jr was forced off in tears with an ankle sprain that now has the Brazil team - and doubtless millions of fans back home in South America - worried their talisman could be forced to miss the action just as he was back in 2014, when a back injury ruined his World Cup on home soil.

"We're obviously concerned because we all know what an amazing player he is," said winger Antony, who came on to replace the PSG man, after the match. "But I trust our medical staff, I think they will get him back on his feet."

Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar fronted the press after the match to give an update: "Neymar has a sprained right ankle. We started treatment immediately and he has to wait 24 to 48 hours to see. There is nothing else to be done at the moment."

Tite doubles down

However, in the face of such inconclusive news, some reassuring words from Tite were still needed, and the Brazil boss proved bullish in his prediction as to how the situation will play out.

"Neymar took a knock during the game, but he decided to keep playing to help the team for eleven minutes, which is phenomenal. I didn't see that he was injured. On the second goal, you could see that he felt that injury. That's when I realised it. He has this ability to hide it," offered the long-time Brazil coach before addressing the burning question.

"We have confidence. He will continue the World Cup," said the man who has been in the Brazil hotseat for six years now. "I repeat: he will continue to play in the World Cup."

Doubtless speculation as to Neymar's continued participation in the tournament will continue right up to Monday's clash with Switzerland - and likely beyond, should the Parisian come up short of fitness...

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