Brazil coach Tite has insisted that Neymar, who is suspected of sprained his ankle in their Group G win against Serbia 2-0, will play again this World Cup. The forward entered the game with 11 minutes left, and television footage showed him limping and his ankle swelling badly.
He looked closed to tears as he sat on the bench in the closing minutes of the game before slowly making his way back to the locker room.
Neymar had been subjected to rough tactics all night by an aggressive Serbian defence, receiving nine fouls and numerous off-the-ball push-ups throughout the game.
But Tite, who had a near-perfect night with Brazil starting their campaign with a convincing victory, said Neymar will be evaluated in the next 24-48 hours and is confident his injury is not serious.
“Don’t worry, Neymar will play in the World Cup. He will continue to play, you can be sure of that.”
Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed he suffered “direct trauma” to Neymar’s right ankle after intervention by Serbian Nikola Milenkovic. “We urgently started treatment on the bench. He continues physiotherapy but now we have to wait 24-48 hours for a better evaluation. He felt this pain throughout the game but after his injury he chose to stay on the field to help his team. It is remarkable that he did that.”
Perhaps Tite’s relaxed demeanor was Brazil’s attempt to avoid the kind of injury drama that derailed their 2014 World Cup campaign. The national anthem before the semi-finals against Germany. Brazil went on to lose the match 7-1.