Will Neymar’s injury affect Brazil during the group stage? Brazil dominated their first group stage match against Serbia with a 2-0 victory with a brace from Richarlison. However, concerns for the nation rise with star player Neymar leaving the game with an ankle injury.
His ankle was swollen as the PSG player was on the bench in tears after being forced to come out. Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed that Neymar has suffered a ligament injury and is ruled out of the next match against Switzerland. He will sit out the rest of the group stage matches with a chance to return for the knockout round.
How will Brazil manage Neymar’s injury for the time being? Back in 2014 in the quarterfinals against Colombia during the World Cup, Neymar suffered a gruesome back injury that saw his tournament come to a tragic end. After that Brazil lost 7-1 against Germany during the semi-finals in front of their home crowd. They also lost the third-place match against the Netherlands 3-0. Neymar’s injury was a crucial loss at the time, but this was a different Brazil team than today.
Brazil’s only loss since 2019 came from the Copa America Finals against Argentina in 2021. They have outscored opponents 29-3 in nine matches while sitting number one in the FIFA rankings. Take Neymar out of the equations, they are accompanied by a list of world-class players.
Breakout star Richarlison has already scored the goal of the tournament thus far with a beautiful scissor goal against Serbia on Thursday. Real Madrid star Vini Jr had an outstanding match with four chances created while assisting Richarlison’s second goal. Barcelona’s Raphinha did phenomenally well with four tackles (three won) and three crosses. The backline has been solid with long-time center defender Thiago Silva leading the pack, along with Marquinhos and Alex Sandro.
Brazil head coach Tite also has an abundance of talent on his bench that he can utilize. Antony, Rodrygo, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli are all options on the bench to help fill in the gap. Rodrygo has played both winger and a striker with Real Madrid, so he can fill in the winger role so Raphinha can play as a midfielder.
Brazil will face Switzerland on Monday, who had a disappointing first match against Cameroon on Thursday. Though taking the win 1-0, the match was an even field with Switzerland struggling to maintain possession against Cameroon. Their goal is to keep Breel Embolo in check and not give him a chance to attack. If Brazil can continue their fast counterattacking and quick passing, they will have no problem facing Switzerland and Cameroon even with Neymar’s injury.