LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — With Neymar sidelined by an ankle injury, Richarlison arrived at the “Celezo.”
Richarlison scored both goals in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Serbia at the World Cup on Thursday, a stunning acrobatic kick easily tapped in from close range.
After the match, the Tottenham striker learned the extent of Neymar’s injury.
“The most important thing for us is to have him at 100% for the next match,” said Richarlison, whose first goal came after a build-up started by Neymar. “When I get to the hotel, I’m going to see how he is.”
Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said that Neymar has sprained his right ankle. He declined to speculate on whether he would be available to play in the team’s next match against Switzerland on Monday.
“We put ice on it while he was on the bench, then physical therapy,” Lassmer said. “No tests are scheduled right now, but we will schedule one if necessary. He will be under observation. We will know more tomorrow.”
Neymar also suffered an injury during the 2014 World Cup. His match ended when he was taken off the field on a stretcher after suffering a back injury in the quarter-final against Colombia at home in Brazil. Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany in the semi-finals.
Neymar was fouled nine times in the game against Serbia, four more than any player so far at this year’s World Cup. But while keeping an eye on Neymar, the opposing defense couldn’t stop Richarlison.
When he used a touch to lift the ball into the air near the penalty spot, he spun around and bounced off the ground before driving the ball into the net with his right foot in the 73rd minute.
Playing in his first World Cup, Richarlison said, “My childhood dream has come true. “We knew it would be difficult to get past them. I’m used to playing against such defensive teams in England. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities I got.
Brazil struggled to break through the Serbian defense until Richarlison scored from close range in the 62nd. Vinicius Jr. assisted on both goals.
Neymar, seeking his first major title with Brazil, scored 75 goals for the national team, two shy of Pele’s scoring record.
He was tackled a few times and sprained his right ankle in the second half. He limped off the field, crying on the bench after coming on as a substitute in ’79.
Brazil coach Tide started with an attack-minded squad featuring four forwards: Neymar, Vinicius Jr, Rabinha and Richarlison. Attacking midfielder Lucas Paqueta played alongside Casemiro, the lone defensive midfielder.
But Serbia withdrew many players and managed to keep Brazil from creating many significant chances. Neymar tried to control the pace but struggled to break free. He, Vinicius Jr and Rabinha Aguirre wasted chances early on.
Brazil’s best chance before Richarlison’s opening goal was Alex Sandro’s low long-range shot that hit the post in the 60th minute. Neymar had better chances with a free kick in the 50th and a shot from near the penalty spot in the 55th.
Serbia suffered injuries in this match.
“We have three key players injured – it’s too much for us,” Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic said. “We are not Brazil with 200 million people. We are a very small country. “
Neymar, 30, arrives at his third World Cup as Brazil’s main attraction. He helped the “Seleção” win the 2013 Confederations Cup and its first Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, but has yet to win a major title with the national team.
Brazil, who are trying to win their first World Cup in two decades, are unbeaten with 17 wins in their last 20 matches. It has topped its group in the last 10 World Cups.
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