Brazil secured a 2–0 win with relative ease in its World Cup opener against Serbia, with two goals coming from debutant Richarlison. However, the victory came with some unpleasant news when forward Neymar injured his right ankle late in the contest.
Tears flowed from the eyes of the Brazilian forward before he eventually limped off the field at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar in the 79th minute. He was fouled nine times in the match, the most of any player.
Rodrigo Lasmar, Brazil’s team doctor, told reporters Neymar sprained his ankle will be under observation and more updates would be available within the next 24 to 48 hours. Manager Tite said he was “confident” that the forward would continue playing in the World Cup, despite Lasmar saying it was too early to comment on the extent of Neymar’s injury.
“He [Neymar] stayed for the two goals we scored even feeling his ankle injury because the team needed him," Tite said following the match, per the Associated Press. “In the two chances and the chance he was in, which [was decisive], his ability to overcome pain. In both goals he was already feeling it.
“You can be sure that Neymar will play the World Cup. I am absolutely sure about that. He will play in the World Cup.”
As Brazil pursues its sixth World Cup trophy, the status of its superstar seems to remain in limbo.
The 30-year-old is no stranger to injuries on the global stage. In 2014, he suffered a fractured vertebrate in a quarterfinal win over Colombia and had to be removed from the field on a stretcher.
Entering his third World Cup with Brazil, Neymar has tallied 75 goals for the national team, two shy of Pelé’s scoring record. He helped Brazil win the 2013 Confederations Cup and its first Olympic gold medal at the '16 Rio Games.
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