The 30-year-old defender picked up the injury during the second half of Brazil’s 2-0 win over Serbia in Group G on Friday and played on for several minutes before being substituted by Manchester United striker Antony. He was later seen in tears sitting on the couch with noticeable swelling in his right ankle.
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“Neymar will play the World Cup, you can be sure of that,” Tite told a post-match press conference, Xinhua reported.
“I didn’t see that Neymar was injured. I didn’t see it until later on the video (replay). He was able to keep playing and overcome (the pain),” he added.
Brazilian team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said the extent of the injury would be known within 24-48 hours. “We’ll have to wait to make a full assessment, maybe tomorrow (Friday),” Lasmar said.
He added that medical staff were also monitoring an ankle injury suffered by right-back Danilo during the match at Lusail Stadium.
Meanwhile, Serbia manager Dragan Stojkovic has blamed key players’ injuries for his team’s poor second half in the defeat to Brazil. After a balanced first half, Brazilian striker Richarlison scored twice in 11 minutes as the South American side made a perfect start to the Group G tournament.
“I think we were level in the first 45 minutes,” Stojkovic told a post-match press conference. “I didn’t see them being much more dominant at that stage. But in the second half we were physically at a lower level and Brazil took advantage of that because they have excellent players and they punished us.”
Stojkovic said his team was handicapped by injuries to Filip Kostic (thigh), Dusan Vlahovic (groin) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (ankle) before the World Cup started.
All three were included in Serbia’s final 26-man squad, but only Mitrovic played on Thursday. “Those injuries are too much for us. We are not Brazil with 200 million people. We are a very small country,” said Stojkovic. “That is a fact. I am very sorry, because they got injured just before the World Cup and are therefore very unlucky.”
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He promised his team would recover ahead of its next game against Cameroon on Monday, which Serbia must win to have any chance of progressing to the round of 16. “You’ll see a different team in the next game than tonight,” he said. “Brazil is the top team. There is no doubt about that. Brazil is one of the favorites to win.
“It was a deserved victory for Brazil. We hope to turn the page against Cameroon and hope to have healthy players,” he added.