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.Read:Raptors vs. 76ers: How to watch NBA online, TV channel, live stream info, game time to day
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.Read:Roger Federer fights back tears as he plays the last match of his professional tennis career | UK news
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.Read:Heartwarming moment Jack Grealish keeps promise to young disabled fan as he celebrates England’s final goal vs Iran
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