Neymar ankle injury offers Arsenal duo Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus Brazil starting hope

Arsenal duo Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus have been offered the hope of playing a starting role for Brazil at the World Cup – but that could come at the expense of superstar Neymar.

The Brazilian striker was substituted in the second half of the victory over Serbia after his team took a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Tottenham striker Richarlison. The Paris Saint-Germain star wrapped his ankle during an embarrassing tackle with Serbian Nikola Milinkovic.

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After leaving the pitch, a visibly emotional Neymar appeared on the bench as the team’s medical staff took care of him, as the 30-year-old had been plagued by injuries in the past.

Read more: Richarlison answers questions from Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino with the Brazil national team

Neymar missed the infamous 7-1 defeat by Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals in his home country after fracturing his spine in the quarter-finals against Colombia.

Another injury at the end of the tournament would be shattering for Neymar and hugely problematic for Brazil – but it would add a place in the starting line-up to a squad full of attacking stars.

Arsenal duo Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli started on the bench against Serbia amid calls for Jesus in particular to start against Richarlison. However, after an uneventful first half, the Tottenham striker answered his critics in style.

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Meanwhile, players such as Manchester United striker Anthony and Real Madrid player Rodrigo participated in the second half, confirming the strength of the Brazilian national team in depth in his team. Coach Tite could also look to the likes of Bruno Guimarães to replace Neymar in a more central role.

The Brazilian national team doctor told reporters after the match: “Neymar suffers from an injury to his right ankle. Because of its effect on the knee of the Serbian player, we started treatment immediately when he was on the bench. We need to wait 24 48 hours to get a better evaluation.” Meanwhile, Tite looked to allay fears, telling reporters: “Don’t worry, Neymar will play the World Cup. He will continue to play, you can be sure of that.”

Neymar left the ground without any ligaments on his swollen ankle, but was seen limping wildly across the mixed area. It’s a quick turnaround ahead of their next game against Granit Xhaka’s Switzerland on Monday, who will be hoping to continue their winning start to the tournament.

Should the Brazilian superstar not be able to take the field for the next game, the likes of Jesus and Martinelli will be pressing hard to replace him in the squad.

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read the following:

“Better than Jesus!” – Tottenham fans reaction when Richarlison scored twice for Brazil against Serbia

Alan Shearer and Micah Richards agree on Richarlison amid decisions by Gabriel Jesus and Firmino

Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish take a stroll on Instagram amid England’s World Cup victory against Iran

Calling Lisandro Martinez mocked Manchester United, as Tottenham’s Christian Romero caused embarrassment against Saudi Arabia

The new stoppage time rule was demonstrated at the FIFA World Cup as Lionel Messi and Argentina suffer a shock defeat

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