Neymar injured, Richarlison scores for Brazil at World Cup
LUCILE, Qatar (AP) – When Neymar was sidelined with an ankle injury, Richarlison came on for the Selecao.
Richarlison scored both goals in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Serbia on Thursday with a spectacular acrobatic tap-in from close range. World Cup.
The Tottenham striker found out the extent of Neymar’s injury after the match.
“The most important thing for us is to have him at 100% in the next game,” said Richarlison, whose first goal came after being set up by Neymar. “I’ll go and see how he’s doing when I get to the hotel.”
Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said Neymar’s right ankle sprained. He declined to speculate on whether he would be available for the team’s next match against Switzerland on Monday.
“We put ice on it while he’s on the bench and then in physical therapy,” Lassmer said. “There is no exam scheduled as of now but we will schedule it if necessary. He will be kept under observation. We will know more tomorrow.”
Neymar was also injured during the 2014 World Cup. Playing at home in Brazil, a back injury in the quarter-finals against Colombia ended his tournament when he had to be carried off the field on a stretcher. Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany in the semi-finals.
Neymar was fouled nine times in the match against Serbia, four more than any other player at this year’s World Cup so far. But the opposing defense could not stop Richarlison while taking care of Neymar.
He turned towards goal as he used a touch to lift the ball into the air near the penalty spot, then spun around and leapt off the ground before slotting the ball into the net with his right foot in the 73rd minute.
“My childhood dream came true,” said Richarlison, who is playing his first World Cup. “We knew it would be difficult to overcome them. I am used to playing against such defensive teams in England. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities that came my way and I did.”
Brazil struggled to break through the Serbian defense until Richarlison scored from close range in the 62nd minute. Vinicius Jr. assisted on both goals.
Neymar, seeking his first major title with Brazil, finished with 75 goals for the national team, two shy of Pele’s goalscoring record.
He was tackled hard a few times and sprained his right ankle in the second half. He wept on the bench after being substituted in the 79th and limped out of the stadium.
Brazil coach Tite started with an attacking squad that featured four forwards – Neymar, Vinicius Junior, Rafinha and Richarlison. Attacking midfielder Lucas Paqueta plays alone alongside defensive midfielder Casemiro.
But Serbia had several players back and managed to prevent Brazil from creating many significant chances. Neymar tries to control the pace but struggles to break free. He, Vinicius Junior and Rafinha wasted chances early on.
Brazil’s best chance before Richarlison’s opening goal was a low long-range shot by Alex Sandro that hit the post in the 60th. Neymar had his best chances with a free kick in the 50th and a shot from close range in the 55th.
Serbia had its own injury problems for the match.
“We have three important players who are injured – it’s too much for us,” said Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic. “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, seeking their first World Cup win in two decades, are unbeaten with 17 wins in their last 20 opening games. It has finished first in the group in the last 10 World Cups.
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