Neymar doubtful for Brazil's opening World Cup qualifier with back injury

By Sports Desk October 08, 2020

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar is doubtful for Brazil's opening World Cup 2022 qualifier against Bolivia with a back injury.

Footage on social media this week showed Neymar putting his hand on his lower back and keeling on the floor in pain during a training session.

He was unable to train on Thursday and Tite is now preparing to be without his key man for Friday's clash in Sao Paulo, with Flamengo's Everton Ribeiro on standby.

Brazil's team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed a decision will be made on Neymar's availability on Friday and Tite added: "We will have to wait and see.

"If we are without Neymar then it will be Everton in his place."

Brazil are already without goalkeeper Alisson and striker Gabriel Jesus but Tite still has a deep squad to choose from for the double-header with Bolivia and Peru.

Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro will captain the side in the absence of Dani Alves, who is regaining fitness after an injury layoff, while Weverton and Douglas Luiz will also start.

"The captain for tomorrow's game is Casemiro," Tite said. "He is one of the captains, one of the leaders we have.

"We have three great goalkeepers but Weverton has played at a high level.

"Douglas Luiz is another. We want to give him greater freedom to attack from the left side. He needs to be able to supply the man up front."

Brazil will belatedly get their qualifying campaign up and running after the first four rounds of fixtures were called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Selecao won the 2019 Copa America but have advanced past the quarter-final stage of the World Cup just once since 2002, when they won the fifth of their titles.

That occasion was on home soil in 2014, in which they suffered a humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany.

"It is about enjoying the pressure," Tite said at his pre-match news conference on Thursday. "It is my responsibility to make decisions and win titles.

"I have the opportunity to be a world champion with Brazil. But this is a team under construction."

Related items

  • Mancini's Italy end four-year absence from FIFA rankings elite Mancini's Italy end four-year absence from FIFA rankings elite

    Roberto Mancini has led resurgent Italy back into the top 10 of the FIFA rankings after a four-year absence.

    The Azzurri are four-time World Cup winners but last featured in the higher echelons in the August 2016 rankings.

    Failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup during Gian Piero Ventura's reign demonstrated their decline, but Mancini, who turned 56 on Friday, has engineered an impressive turnaround in fortunes.

    Italy were 20th on the FIFA list when Mancini took over as head coach in May 2018, but winning all 10 of their Euro 2020 qualifying matches not only re-established them as a major force, it has seen their ranking soar.

    Italy have reached the Nations League finals and are now unbeaten in 22 matches, their best such run since the year they won the World Cup in 2006.

    They enjoyed an 11-game winning streak within the current sequence and will be seeded for the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

    Mancini praised his squad's efforts earlier this month, saying on RAI Sport: "The players have done a great job because it has not always been easy.

    "We have tried to become more offensive with our play. You have to have the right mentality to do so and have a style of play that all the great teams have."

    Italy climbed from 12th to 10th place in the new rankings, while Mexico also jumped two places, rising to ninth.

    For Mexico the wait to rejoin the top 10 had been even longer than it was for Italy - with a nine-year span since they last featured.

    Belgium remain top of the list, ahead of France and Brazil.

     

    FIFA rankings top 10: 1 Belgium, 2 France, 3 Brazil, 4 England, 5 Portugal, 6 Spain, 7 Argentina, 8 Uruguay, 9 Mexico, 10 Italy.

  • Rumour Has It: Juve eye Man Utd's Van de Beek, Liverpool make bid for Ajax star Rumour Has It: Juve eye Man Utd's Van de Beek, Liverpool make bid for Ajax star

    Is Donny van de Beek already heading for an Old Trafford exit?

    Van de Beek made the move from Ajax to Manchester United at the start of the season.

    But he is reportedly wanted by Juventus in Italy.

     

    TOP STORY – VAN DE BEEK WANTED IN TURIN

    Juventus are plotting a move for Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek, according to Calciomercato.

    Van de Beek only swapped Eredivisie powerhouse Ajax for United at the start of the season, but he has struggled to cement a spot in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's XI.

    Serie A champions are reportedly trying to reunite Van de Beek with former Ajax team-mate Matthijs de Ligt in Turin.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Corriere dello Sport report Liverpool have submitted a bid for Ajax centre-back Perr Schuurs. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are injured at Anfield.

    Chelsea are eyeing a move for Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez ahead of a 2021 transfer, says the Here We Go Podcast.

    - TodoFichajes claims Marseille star Florian Thauvin has agreed to join Milan on a free transfer.

    United have joined Premier League champions Liverpool in the race for Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze, according to La Razon. The 21-year-old has also impressed Chelsea.

    - Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu wants to join United, reports Bild journalist Christian Falk. The Turkey international is out of contract at the end of the season. Juve, Atletico and Inter have all been linked.

    - Football Insider says Arsenal are interested in signing Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai on loan in January and loaning him back to the Austrian champions.

  • Tebas: I want Messi in LaLiga like I want Ronaldo, Mourinho, Guardiola and Klopp Tebas: I want Messi in LaLiga like I want Ronaldo, Mourinho, Guardiola and Klopp

    LaLiga president Javier Tebas said he wants Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi in Spain, just like he wants Cristiano Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in the league.

    Messi's future remains an important topic at embattled LaLiga giants Barca after he handed in a transfer request following a tumultuous 2019-20 season.

    The six-time Ballon d'Or winner was tipped to join Premier League powerhouse Manchester City before opting to remain in Spain, though he has since been linked to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.

    Tebas was asked about Messi's future, and he played down the impact of the Argentina skipper's possible exit.

    "I want Messi in LaLiga, just as I want [Tottenham head coach] Mourinho, [City manager] Guardiola, [Liverpool boss] Klopp, [Juventus superstar] Cristiano…," Tebas said at the World Football Summit. "They all help you grow.

    "It's not essential. They're not as important as people say. Neymar left. It's necessary to have a strategy, a player can help you, but it's not essential.

    "We've got the deals done for the next four seasons in nearly all territories. It can affect sponsorships somewhat, but we've really worked hard on the league's brand and we wouldn't notice it.

    "I hope that Messi, who's the best player ever, finished his career here."

    Messi has spent his entire senior career at Camp Nou, where he emerged from Barca's youth team in 2004.

    Since debuting, Messi has become Barca's all-time leading scorer and won a club-record 34 trophies, including 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns.

    In 2020-21, Messi has scored three goals in eight LaLiga matches for 13th-placed Barca, who are 12 points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad.

    Messi has six goals across all competitions as Ronald Koeman's Barca struggle this season.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.