Neymar is available for Brazil’s World Cup Round of 16 match against South Korea on Monday, coach Tite has confirmed.
The 30-year-old forward then missed Brazil’s last two group games suffer ligament damage in the opening game against Serbia in the right ankle.
Brazil, one of the pre-tournament favourites, qualified for the knockout rounds with a game remaining and topped Group G despite losing to Cameroon.
When asked on Sunday if Neymar was fit to return, Tite replied ‘yes’.
He added: “Neymar will train this afternoon and if he trains well then he will play.”
The Paris St-Germain star was substituted in the 80th minute of his country’s 2-0 win over Serbia after a fierce tackle from Nikola Milenkovic and later described the injury as “one of the hardest moments of my career”.
Neymar wrote on Instagram: “Nothing in my life was easy and I always had to work towards my dreams and goals. I never wished anything bad on anyone and always helped when needed.
“I’m injured, yes it’s not nice, it’s going to hurt, but I’m sure I’ll have a chance to come back because I’ll do everything I can to help my country, my team-mates and myself.”
Neymar has had a number of injury problems with his right foot in recent years, missing out on the 2019 Copa America after tearing ligaments in his ankle and then spending several weeks recovering from a similar injury in 2021.
Defender Danilo is also ready to return for Brazil but Alex Telles and forward Gabriel Jesus are sidelined for the rest of the tournament.
CHRIS SUTTON’S PREDICTION
South Korea managed to get here very late but the dramatic way they qualified from Group H means their World Cup was memorable no matter what happens next.
They’ll try and they showed against Portugal how organized they are at the back, but I don’t think they have enough on the other side to disrupt Brazil.
How close that will be may depend on Neymar’s return from injury, but I still think Brazil will win even if they have to do it without him.
Sutton’s prediction: 2-0
- This is the eighth meeting between Brazil and South Korea, but the first-ever competitive clash between the two sides. Brazil have won six of their seven games (L1), most recently a 5-1 win in June.
- Brazil have lost four of their last ten World Cup games. Their previous four defeats in the competition were spread over 36 games.
- This is South Korea’s first World Cup knockout game since 2010 when they were beaten by Uruguay in the round of 16.
- Brazil have advanced in each of their last seven second-round matches at the World Cup. They were last eliminated at this stage in 1990 against Argentina.
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