The photos published on Saturday by Neymar on his social networks – showing in particular a significant hematoma on his right ankle – do not tell us when (and if) the star of Brazil, victim of a ligament injury, will be able to wear the jersey again. Selecao in this World Cup. But they assure us that it will not be for now, at least not against Switzerland on Monday.
A heartbreaker? Certainly, given the form that was that of “Ney” since the start of the season and his place in the Brazilian locker room. A problem ? Let’s not go that far. Anyway, not right away.
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Brazil without Neymar, a habit
To do without Neymar, the Auriverde are used to it. The Brazilian number 10 missed seven of the seventeen matches of his selection during the qualifying campaign for the Qatari World Cup. This did not prevent Marquinhos and the others from achieving an almost faultless performance, with 14 wins and 3 draws – including two, of course, conceded without the Parisian. Brazil’s last two matches without Neymar ended in 4-0 wins.
But to do without Neymar, Brazil has above all the means. Almost oversized. “Brazil depends on all his talents. Of course, Neymar is a star, a player of extraordinary talent, but we rely on all our playersassured coach Tite at a press conference on Sunday. Neymar has that, the ability to change the game, but other players, young people, will be able to stand out, be creative, like ‘Vini’, Richarlison, Pedro, Gabriel Jesus…”.
Richarlison after his double in Brazil – Serbia
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To strike and animate the sides, the five-time world champion can actually rely, as desired, on Vinicius Junior, Raphinha, Antony, Rodrygo or Gabriel Martinelli. The Barça winger missed big chances against Serbia (2-0), and that of Manchester United could also be a recourse of choice to try to break the Swiss lock.
An exceptional bench
Score, a certain Richarlison knows how to do it: his double against Serbia has made him the top scorer of his selection since he joined in September 2020, with 19 goals over the period against 18 for Neymar. Behind, there is Gabriel Jesus – also able to evolve on one side – and the unknown but clinical Pedro.
There remains the question of creation. Faced with affordable opposition – typically in group stage configuration – Brazil relies, ahead of Casemiro, on two playmakers: Neymar, therefore, and Lucas Paqueta. To accompany the West Ham player, who will have to assert himself and potentially evolve higher, there is again the embarrassment of choice. Bruno Guimaraes can be a very interesting solution, in his own register. The former Lyonnais is absolutely beaming with Newcastle in the Premier League. In the last match without Neymar, he was a starter… and a scorer, like Paqueta.
Conviction and choice of men: Bravo Deschamps
Tite also has the choice of making his team even more impermeable during the absence of his star, using Fred, or even Fabinho. Or to do the opposite, by putting a much more offensive player in support of Richarlison. “There may be some changes to be made to our strategy, our game system,” conceded Tite.
Even France does not compete
Be that as it may, in all positions in the middle and attack, in second or third choice, we find high-sounding names, holders in the best European clubs and varied profiles. An unequaled density in this World Cup, not even by a French team which can no longer say the same with all the major packages it has suffered, from Paul Pogba to Karim Benzema via Christopher Nkunku.
Brazil won’t be the same without Neymar, for sure. But while waiting to find out if he will be able to play any knockout matches with him, he has the weapons to do without one of the best players in the world without shaking too much. Not bad…
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