The host nation Brazil has been sweating on the fitness of Neymar whose delivered the winning penalty in the shootout versus Chile on Saturday. In that match, Neymar suffered thigh and knee injuries that have been under close evaluation by Brazilian team doctors. But it appears Neymar is winning his race for match fitness.
Brazilian National Team Spokesperson Rodrgio Pavia addressed Neymar’s status to the media on Tuesday.
“The worst is the knee – it’s what’s hurting the most, He will be evaluated again, but team doctor Jose Luiz Runco said fans don’t have to worry because he’s not a concern for the match.”
After the match against Chile, Brazlian Manager Luis Felipe Scolari was critical of the official, England’s Howard Webb for allowing Chilean players to take an overly physical approach with the A Seleção talisman.
“Neymar needs to be valued for what he did because it was a big effort, He played 75 minutes of the match after a strong hit on the thigh and we couldn’t understand how somebody hits with that strength and gets no card.”
Scolari felt Chile had set out to rough Neymar up even comparing to his experience in a match against the Netherlands when he was managing Portugal.
“I remember we were playing against Holland and, in the fifth minute of the game, their defender, Khalid Boulahrouz, came through and pretty much broke Cristiano Ronaldo in half. Ronaldo had to go off 10 minutes later and – here’s the thing – when I saw Neymar after the game today I remembered that.”
Brazil’s failure to develop other options in the attacking end might be partly to blame for the overly physical approach opponents are taking towards Neymar. The misfiring nature of Brazil’s strikers, Fred and Jo thus far in the World Cup only adds to the nation’s reliance on Neymar.
This World Cup has seen upsets aplenty and the feeling about the pre-tournament favorites, Brazil has been that they have been far from their best. But Neymar, the 22 year-old Barcelona superstar has had spectacular moments in this World Cup and has in many ways personally willed A Seleção into the quarterfinals.
Neymar has scored four goals already in this World Cup. Brazil faces Colombia in the Quarterfinals on Friday.