Brazil manager Tite said he remains confident Neymar will play again in the 2022 World Cup, with teammate Marquinhos revealing the star forward is undergoing 24-hour physiotherapy as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury sustained in their opening win over Serbia.
Brazil have confirmed he will miss their second match against Switzerland on Monday, with ESPN sources saying he will also likely miss their third and final match of the group stage against Cameroon on Dec. 2.
There were fears the injury sustained by Neymar — with right-back Danilo also forced off in the match with an ankle injury — would see them sidelined for the rest of the tournament, but Tite said Sunday he expects to have both available at some stage in the competition.
“I believe that Neymar and Danilo will play the World Cup,” Tite told a news conference. “I believe in that. Medically, clinically, they can talk more about the stages of the treatment. [But] I have no place to talk. I believe that we will be able to use both of them.”
Neymar was replaced in the 80th minute of their 2-0 win, but it was later revealed that he sustained the injury earlier in the match after a robust tackle from Nikola Milenkovic.
Tite accepted responsibility for not substituting Neymar sooner, saying he did not realize the forward had picked up an injury.
“He was injured, I didn’t see that he was injured, we didn’t have that information, I didn’t notice,” Tite said. “The information didn’t come, it didn’t come, he tried to stay in the field, until he fell. At that moment he was able to continue for the team, to participate in the goals.”
– Marcotti: Richarlison’s goal of the tournament bid leads classy Brazil
– 2022 World Cup: How every team can reach the round of 16
Brazil defender Marquinhos revealed Neymar is sleeping in the physiotherapy room at their hotel in Doha. The defender said the forward has gone through a variety of emotions since sustaining the injury, but is focused on playing a role in this World Cup for Brazil.
“I think that, at the time, at the moment, it’s a delicate, difficult situation,” Marquinhos said of Neymar’s injury. “After the match, I saw him sad, it’s normal, because of everything he dreamed of, wanted, the desire he had.
“But today, after exams, treatment, he is sleeping in physiotherapy, doing physiotherapy 24 hours a day. This shows how much he wants to be with us, that’s it. We don’t know when. Today we see him much better. It’s very important to be with us. A good head, which greatly influences this moment of recovery. I see him very confident when he returns. And that helps with his return.”
Marquinhos said the squad is strong enough to cope without Neymar and Danilo, but emphasized how important they are to the team.
“In a World Cup, [as Tite] can say, he wanted to have the 26 players available. But we showed before and we are ready to show again that the group is strong, well trained, ready for any divergence.
“That was said, we know, that not always the team that starts will finish. Sometimes due to injury, because one is better than the other.”