With Neymar out for at least another match, Brazil coach Tite must now start thinking about a replacement and this time he has plenty of options.
Brazil is not as Neymar-dependent as it used to be, and Tite could go several different ways to replace the Paris Saint-Germain forward for Mondays Group G match against Switzerland.
Neymar hurt his right ankle in Brazils opening 2-0 win against Serbia on Thursday. He has ligament damage and team doctors have not given a timetable for his recovery or said if he will be able to recover at all.
Tite brought nine forwards to the World Cup, and could also add a midfielder as Neymars replacement if wanted.
The most straightforward option would be to use Rodrygo in Neymars position, keeping Raphinha, Vinícius Júnior and Richarlison in attack. Rodrygo plays more as an attacker at Real Madrid, but he has trained in Neymars No. 10 playmaking position while with Brazil in Qatar.
Another alternative would be to put an extra midfielder in Neymars position Manchester Uniteds Fred or Newcastles Bruno Guimarães, for example freeing up attacking midfielder Lucas Paquetá, who played closer to defensive midfielder Casemiro against Serbia. Another attacking midfielder available to Tite is Everton Ribeiro, while the other forwards in the squad are Gabriel Jesus, Antony, Gabriel Martinelli and Pedro.
Neymar attracted most of the attention from the tough Serbian defense, which kept roughing him up from the start. He was fouled nine times during the game, the most by any player at the World Cup in the first round of matches in the group stage.
Neymar is Brazils second-best all-time scorer with 75 goals, two behind Pelés record with the national team. The last time he was out at a World Cup because of a back injury sustained in the quarterfinals against Colombia in 2014 Brazil went on to get embarrassed by Germany 7-1 in the semifinals.
Tite wont be able to count on right back Danilo, who also sprained his ankle against Serbia. Danilos replacement will likely be veteran Daniel Alves, although Tite could also use central defender Éder Militão in the position.
Danilo and Neymar had physiotherapy treatment Saturday while the rest of the players trained. Antony wasnt feeling well and also didnt practice.
Brazil, seeking its first World Cup title in two decades, faces Cameroon in its last group match. It can reach the round of 16 in advance with a win on Monday if Cameroon doesnt defeat Serbia in the other group match.
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