Reigning champions Brazil and 2016 finalists Germany have been drawn together in the group stages for the men's football tournament at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Brazil secured the gold medal on home soil in Rio five years ago when defeating Germany via a penalty shoot-out, Neymar with the clinching spot-kick for following a 1-1 draw after extra time.

The two nations are together again in Group D, along with Ivory Coast and Saudi Arabia, and are in the same half of the draw as Argentina and Spain, who are both in Group C.

Hosts Japan are joined in Group A by France, Mexico – who claimed the gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London – and South Africa.

Les Bleus will be involved in the opening match when they take on Mexico on July 22 at Tokyo Stadium, followed by Japan taking on South Africa at the same venue later that day.

In the women's event, the United States – winners of the 2019 World Cup - are paired with Sweden, who lost the 2016 final to Germany. Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand complete the line-up for Group G.

Japan will take on Canada, Great Britain and Chile in Group E, while the other pool contains China, Brazil, the Netherlands and Zambia.


Men's draw in full:

Group A: Japan, South Africa, Mexico, France.

Group B: New Zealand, South Korea, Honduras, Romania.

Group C: Egypt, Spain, Argentina, Australia.

Group D: Brazil, Germany, Ivory Coast, Saudi Arabia

Women's draw in full:

Group E: Japan, Canada, Great Britain, Chile.

Group F: China, Brazil, Zambia, the Netherlands.

Group G: Sweden, United States, Australia, New Zealand.

Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil forward Neymar has denied he is planning to throw a party to celebrate his birthday next month.

Brazilian newspaper Extra claimed Neymar is preparing to host an event in Paris for his 29th birthday on February 5 with guests flying in from Brazil.

Mass gatherings are banned in France under coronavirus restrictions and any such party would likely be in breach of them.

Neymar described the story as "wrong gossip" in a message posted on Twitter on Saturday and added: "There will be no party!"

It is not the first time Neymar's famed party reputation has come under scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Barcelona man denied he was hosting a New Year's Eve bash for 150 guests at his private condominium in Mangaratiba, down the coast from Rio de Janeiro.

Pele has denied changing his Instagram bio after Cristiano Ronaldo overtook his haul of 757 goals in official competitions.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo moved on to 758 career goals with a double in Juventus' 4-1 victory over Udinese on Saturday.

It came just two weeks after Brazil great Pele, a three-time World Cup winner, saw his record for the most goals with a single club - 643 at Santos - surpassed by Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.

Following Ronaldo's goals against Udinese, Pele was accused of updating his Instagram bio to include "Leading Goal Scorer of All Time (1,283)", a total that remains the subject of much debate.

However, the 80-year-old has refuted the allegation, insisting he is not trying to detract from the achievements of Ronaldo and Messi.

"I was accused by the press of having changed my Instagram bio to overshadow these big stars that are breaking my records," Pele posted on Twitter.

"The bio text has always been the same since I joined the platform. None of this should distract us from their incredible achievements."

Only Czech striker Josef Bican, who is credited with scoring 805 goals, lies ahead of Ronaldo in the all-time goalscoring list.

After Messi scored his 644th goal for Barcelona, Santos published an article on their official website – attributed to club historian Fernando Ribeiro – with the headline, 'King Pele – 1,091 goals for Santos FC'.

Ribeiro claimed that Pele's official haul for Santos was 1,091 when friendlies against some of the world's best teams, including Barca and Inter, were included.

Finally, 2020 is history - there won't be many people who aren't happy to see the back of a difficult year.

While the coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of making a swift exit, the turn of the year at least gives us the chance to look forward, and the same is true in the world of sport.

2020 saw many promising young players make the step up, some undoubtedly down to the absences caused by coronavirus or the packed schedule that the pandemic has led to.

We've picked out 21 under-21 players to keep an eye on in 2021 - and while you may already be familiar with some of them, there's good reason to give them your attention this year...

 

Illan Meslier, 20 - Leeds United

Few goalkeepers can come away from a 6-2 defeat having impressed, but Meslier did so against Manchester United recently. His eight saves prevented Leeds' crushing loss from getting even more embarrassing, while only three goalkeepers have produced more in a single Premier League match this term. His total of 63 is also the second most in the division – the France Under-21 talent, who joined on a permanent deal from Lorient last year, appears to have a big future ahead of him.

Kristoffer Klaesson, 20 - Valerenga

Goalkeepers tend to break through a little later than outfield players, but Norway youth international Klaesson has already been first-choice at Valerenga for the best part of 16 months – he only turned 20 in November. Coincidentally, he could have become a team-mate of Meslier's in 2020 as Leeds were reportedly interested, but he remains in Norway for the time being.

William Saliba, 19 - Arsenal

Saliba is certainly one of the most recognisable names on this list – after all, he has been owned by Arsenal for getting on for two years. Unfortunately, he has not been afforded much of a chance by Mikel Arteta this term, which makes him an interesting prospect to watch in 2021. Either he'll eventually get an opportunity at the Gunners, or a loan move will provide him with a crack at first-team football. After a tricky 2020, he'll want to get his career back on track.

Perr Schuurs, 21 - Ajax

Given his appearance, playing style and the fact he has come through Ajax's academy, comparisons between Schuurs and Matthijs de Ligt were to be expected. He may not reach the Juventus star's level, but he has certainly shown real promise that is reportedly interesting Liverpool. Schuurs is one of the five youngest players to have featured for at least 500 minutes in this season's Champions League, while his 47 ball recoveries was the sixth highest of any player in the group stage.

Ethan Laird, 19 - Manchester United

Aaron Wan-Bissaka was supposed to fix Man United's issues at right-back, but this season his defensive positioning has been concerning and he appears to have become even less effective in attack – his chances created and open-play crosses per 90 minutes have decreased significantly. Laird has long been considered a fine prospect at United and boasts the technical abilities to be a threat in attack. If he can stay fit, chances could be in the offing.

Tariq Lamptey, 20 - Brighton and Hove Albion

Having joined Brighton last January from Chelsea, Lamptey has quickly made a name for himself as an exciting wing-back. Last year saw the diminutive talent enjoy something of a breakthrough, but in 2021 he'll be looking to truly establish himself and potentially break into the England squad. There are few more exhilarating full-backs in the Premier League – his 3.8 dribbles per game is the third most among defenders to have featured more than twice.

Nuno Mendes, 18 - Sporting CP

Sporting have a wealth of talent coming through at the moment and left-back Mendes is arguably chief among them. Blessed with fine technical abilities, the 18-year-old is apparently a target for Man United, Liverpool and Real Madrid. Already a regular having started 10 of the Primeira Liga leaders' 11 games this term, Mendes' 10 completed dribbles is the fourth-highest among defenders in the division, while his 28 interceptions is second only to team-mate Luis Neto.

Gabriel Menino, 20 - Palmeiras

An intriguing player with a well-rounded skillset, Menino has already transitioned from centre-back to defensive midfield to right-back despite his young age. It is in the latter position where he impressed enough to earn a first Brazil call-up last year and only two players have provided more than his five assists in the 2020 Brazilian Serie A.

Moises Caicedo, 19 - Independiente del Valle

The past month or so has seen Caicedo brought to the attention of a wider audience – or, more specifically, Manchester United fans. The all-action midfielder was the teenager with the most goals (four), shots attempted (24), chances created (19), successful passes (748) and dribbles completed (23) in Ecuador's top flight in 2020, while his passing accuracy of 90.1 per cent was the highest among players to attempt 500 or more.

Billy Gilmour, 19 - Chelsea

Scottish talent Gilmour had shown real promise during his 11 Chelsea appearances last season before a knee injury in July laid him low. He returned to action last month with a few cameos off the bench, and there will be plenty hoping he can return to his previous level quickly. A loan move might be on the cards, but Frank Lampard has high hopes for the crafty midfielder.

Yunus Musah, 18 - Valencia

Valencia are going through another difficult spell, with off-field matters often overshadowing on-pitch performances. Nevertheless, in United States international Musah, they appear to have a reason for optimism. Another tricky winger, Musah's 38 dribbles is the second most among Los Che players this term and he became their youngest LaLiga goalscorer (17 years, 338 days) this century when netting back in November. He's one that got away from Arsenal.

Ander Barrenetxea, 18 - Real Sociedad

A nimble right-footed left-winger, Barrenetxea broke into La Real's senior side last season with 17 appearances in LaLiga. His eight starts this term is already an increase of five on the entirety of 2019-20 and he has been using that extra time on the pitch to excite. He has attempted 41 dribbles in LaLiga, and his 56 per cent completion rate is bettered by only seven players – all of whom are much older – among those to have tried at least 40.

Bryan Gil, 19 - Eibar (on loan from Sevilla)

If Barrenetxea embodies the modern 'inverted winger' style, then Bryan is very much a wide midfielder of the classic variety. A direct touchline-hugger, the left-winger's aim is almost always to beat his man and get a cross into the box, and he is catching the eye on loan at Eibar this term. Only five wingers in LaLiga can better Bryan's 49 open-play deliveries, though his 22.5 per cent accuracy is better than all but one of those with more cross attempts. He's also tried 44 dribbles, his 52.3 per cent completion putting him close to Barrenetxea.

Jaminton Campaz, 20 - Deportes Tolima

Campaz may not be a household name yet, but a move to Europe or one of South America's leading leagues is surely not far away. The attacker, who can play wide or through the middle, is an explosive player but also productive. No younger player had more goal involvements (five goals and four assists) and chances created (32) in Colombia's top division than Campaz.

Amad Diallo, 18 - Manchester United

Although United splashed a reported £19million on Diallo, the young Ivorian remains something of an unknown quantity. A left-footed right-winger, he has only been given a handful of opportunities in Atalanta's senior side – though he has often caught the eye with his ability on the ball. Given United's lack of options on the right flank, he might just establish himself sooner than some expect – either way, he will be one to monitor.

Pedri, 18 - Barcelona

As each week passes, more and more Pedri looks to be settling into the role as Lionel Messi's heir at Barcelona, but whether he's ready to take up such a mantle as early as this year is another matter. Messi's contract ends in June and so he could well depart – taking on his creative burden would be an unenviable task for a teenager, though Pedri is proving effective. He is creating a chance every 45 minutes on average in the league this term, the third most frequent in the squad among those to have played at least five times.

Talles Magno, 18 - Vasco da Gama

Are you really a Brazilian 'wonderkid' if you've not been linked with every major European club? Talles Magno fits the bill there and it's easy to see why there's interest. His end product still needs work, but his ability to excite is considerable – the 18-year-old has completed more than twice as many dribbles (106) as any other teenager in Brazil's Serie A between 2019 and 2020.

Karim Adeyemi, 18 - Salzburg

There has been a buzz around Adeyemi for a few years now as has previously impressed scouts with Germany's youth sides and during a fruitful loan spell at Liefering. Now back at Salzburg, he looks destined to be another serious talent off the club's impressive conveyor belt. Adeyemi is the only player to have been involved in four goals in a single Austrian Bundesliga this term, scoring and getting a hat-trick of assists in the 8-2 victory over St. Polten, while he set up a goal on his league debut for the club in June. A thrilling talent with great vision and dribbling abilities, Adeyemi may get even greater responsibility in 2021 following the departure of Dominik Szoboszlai.

Marcos Leonardo, 17 - Santos

It's still early days for Marcos Leonardo, though Santos clearly rate him highly – the striker's release clause is €100m. He's already the underage player with the most minutes played (296) and goals (one) in Brazil's top division this season, while he became the sixth youngest player to net in the Copa Libertadores (17y, 173d) when scoring a winner against Defensa y Justicia.

Youssoufa Moukoko, 16 - Borussia Dortmund

There's not much that hasn't already been said about Moukoko. He became the Bundesliga's youngest ever player in November when making his debut a day after his 16th birthday, before then also setting a new record for the league's youngest goalscorer in December. New coach Edin Terzic has already given him two starts – his next target will be to break records on the international stage with Germany. He couldn't get into their Euros squad, could he?

Matias Arezo, 18 - River Plate (URU)

Stocky, technically gifted and already proving decisive in front of goal with seven goal involvements (five goals, two assists) in 15 league matches, Arezo has a lot going in his favour. Whether he has the mentality or focus to not let the 'new Luis Suarez' labels distract him remains to be seen, but he's already the youngest Uruguayan (17y, 349d) to ever score a brace in the Copa Sudamericana having done so against Atletico Nacional in November.

Lionel Messi has equalled Pele's one-club goals haul after chalking up his 643rd for Barcelona against Valencia.

Brazil great Pele, regarded by many as the best to ever play the game, scored 643 times in just 656 matches for Santos between 1956 and 1974.

While Pele's overall goals record for his entire career is disputed, he did net 643 goals in official competition for Santos.

Some believed Pele's haul to be a world record in top-level football, though statisticians are unable to confirm this with absolute certainty.

Nevertheless, this is unlikely to detract from Messi's accomplishment, as he drew level with Pele's remarkable total after scoring with a header in first-half stoppage time on Saturday.

Having initially seen a penalty saved by Jaume Domenech, Messi got his milestone goal when he met a cross from the left and nodded home from point-blank range.

Remarkably, his latest goal was also his 450th in LaLiga, making him the first player to reach that figure for a single club in any of Europe's top five leagues.

Messi has attracted criticism this term as his performances have not been at the level many might have expected them to be.

But his latest goal took him on to six from 13 LaLiga matches in the 2020-21 campaign.

The 33-year-old scored his first Barca goal on May 1, 2005 against Albacete in LaLiga when he was 17, at the time becoming the club's youngest ever goalscorer.

He has since gone on to become Barca's all-time leading scorer, as well as LaLiga's, and has won the Ballon d'Or a record six times.

But how much longer he will remain at Camp Nou remains a topic of much debate.

Messi attempted to force a transfer away from the Blaugrana in pre-season, adamant a get-out clause in his contract provided him with the opportunity to leave on a free transfer.

But then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu stood in his way, Messi ultimately backing down as he was unwilling to drag Barca through the courts.

Media speculation continues to link Messi with an end-of-season move to reunite with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, with his Barca contract expiring in June.

Recently, Paris Saint-Germain have emerged as possible favourites to sign Messi, with Neymar having expressed a desire to play alongside his former Barca team-mate in 2021.

Watching Diego Maradona play was "the best thing in the world" for Cafu, who has described the late Argentina great as a genius.

The sporting world mourned the death of a legendary figure after Maradona died on November 25 at the age of 60.

He won 91 caps for Argentina between 1977 and 1994 - including leading his country to World Cup glory in 1986 - and will forever be an icon at Napoli, having won the Serie A title twice while in Italy.

Cafu may have represented Brazil - Argentina's rivals - but is full of admiration for Maradona, whom he says sits on the same level as Pele when it comes to discussing the greatest of all time.

"He was one of the best ever, without any doubt," Cafu told Stats Perform News courtesy of Nissan.  

"There are only two best ever: Dieguito, as I called him, and Pele.  

"Football lost the magic of touching the ball. Dieguito cared for the football like you care for a child. He really joked with the football and the sport. 

"For us, fans and players, to watch him play was unbelievable, the best thing in the world. I remember a set-piece he took inside the box [against Juventus], he just caressed the ball and laid it in the goal. 

"Now our world is mourning not because we lost a player, but because we lost a football genius."

Pele himself described Maradona as a "true legend" in a heartfelt Instagram post following the news of his friend's passing last month.

"Many people loved to compare us all their lives. You were a genius that enchanted the world. A magician with the ball at his feet. A true legend. But above all that, for me, you will always be a great friend, with an even bigger heart," Pele wrote to accompany a picture of the pair.

"Today, I know that the world would be much better if we could compare each other less and start admiring each other more. So, I want to say that you are incomparable."

Napoli, meanwhile, now play at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, the name of the ground having been changed in honour of their former player.

Pele believes the death of Diego Maradona should teach the world to "admire each other more" and spread a little more love.

The sporting world was shaken last week when Argentina great Maradona died at the age of 60 after suffering heart failure.

Former Brazil superstar Pele, who is now 80, intimated he was tired of being compared to Maradona, with the South American pair having been widely regarded for many years as the greatest players of all time.

The likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have entered that conversation in recent times, but Pele says looking for winners during such debates can stifle appreciation levels.

In a new tribute to Maradona, Pele wrote: "Many people loved to compare us all their lives. You were a genius that enchanted the world. A magician with the ball at his feet. A true legend. But above all that, for me, you will always be a great friend, with an even bigger heart.

"Today, I know that the world would be much better if we could compare each other less and start admiring each other more. So, I want to say that you are incomparable."

The mercurial Maradona won 91 caps for his country between 1977 and 1994, scoring 34 goals at international level.

Pele was sorry he did not have a chance to say goodbye to Maradona in person, but he said the 1986 World Cup winner had managed to be influential, even in death.

In his message, posted to Instagram, Pele added: "Your trajectory was marked by honesty. And in your unique and particular way, you taught us that we have to love and say 'I love you' a lot more often. Your quick departure didn't let me say it to you, so I will just write: I love you, Diego."

He illustrated their friendship with a series of photographs, dating back decades, beginning with an early encounter when a young Maradona watches Pele play guitar.

"My great friend, thank you very much for our entire journey," Pele wrote. "One day, in heaven, we will play together on the same team. And it will be the first time that I raise my fist in the air in triumph on the pitch without celebrating a goal. It will be because I can finally embrace you again."

Pele hopes he will one day "play ball together in the sky" with "great friend" Diego Maradona after the Argentina legend died at the age of 60.

Maradona's passing was confirmed by the Argentine Football Association (AFA), with tributes soon flooding in for a much-loved sporting figure.

The Argentina and Napoli great had undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma after being admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

But on Wednesday, two weeks after being discharged, the AFA announced Maradona had died, with Brazil icon Pele quickly taking to Twitter to show his respect for man who is widely regarded as the greatest rival to his own claim as the best of all time.

"What sad news," Pele wrote. "I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend.

"There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members.

"One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky."

No cause of death was stated, but it has been reported he suffered a heart attack.

Maradona, the captain and inspiration behind Argentina's World Cup success in 1986 before going on to coach his country, had been hospitalised just days after turning 60.

He appeared in a fragile state when he briefly made an appearance as his Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata side played a match on the evening of his birthday last month.

The mercurial Maradona won 91 caps for his country between 1977 and 1994, scoring 34 goals at international level.

He started his career with Argentinos Juniors before joining Boca Juniors and went on to play for Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys before returning to Boca in 1995.

Arthur revelled in his first international goal after helping Brazil continue their perfect start to World Cup qualifying with a win over Uruguay.

The Juventus midfielder's deflected effort opened the scoring in the 34th minute in Montevideo, where Richarlison doubled the lead and Edinson Cavani later saw red for the hosts on Tuesday.

Tite's men made it four wins from four to begin World Cup 2022 qualifying, while extending their unbeaten run against Uruguay to 11 games.

After scoring his first goal in Brazil colours, Arthur was delighted to contribute for his national team.

"I think it was essential to score this goal. For me, the most important thing is to play well and be able to help the team," he said.

"The goal was good to consolidate my performance and help our team. Professor Tite is always watching everyone."

Through four games, Brazil are two points clear of rivals Argentina in CONMEBOL qualifying.

Arthur said Tite's side were targeting top spot in the gruelling qualifying campaign.

"Our goal is this [to win qualifying]. We are working hard in search of our goal," he said.

"We always have something to improve. We did not enter thinking that we are unbeaten because each game is different and difficult.

"We are on a good path, we trust the technical committee and they trust us. Now it is time to continue working and seeking this qualification for the World Cup."

Brazil started their campaign with wins over Bolivia (5-0) and Peru (4-2), but were challenged this month in victories against Venezuela (1-0) and Uruguay.

Tite said his side, whose next outings are against Colombia and Argentina in March, had to get used to different types of games.

"I feel that the team is consolidating, rolling, maturing, feeling the difficulties, reacting on top of the difficulties," he said.

"You don't dominate the game all the time. You have to control the opponent."

Brazil continued their perfect start to World Cup qualifying with a 2-0 win over Uruguay in Montevideo on Tuesday.

First-half goals from Arthur and Richarlison lifted a Neymar-less Brazil to a fourth straight win to begin their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Uruguay, who were without Luis Suarez after the forward's positive coronavirus test, hit the crossbar twice in the first half before their chances took a further hit when Edinson Cavani was sent off in the 71st minute.

The result extended Brazil's unbeaten run against Uruguay to 11 matches.

While Brazil made a bright start, it was Uruguay who went closest to an early opener, Darwin Nunez powering an effort onto the crossbar from inside the area after cutting inside from the left in the fifth minute.

After a relatively even opening, Brazil struck twice in the 11 minutes before half-time through Arthur and Richarlison.

Arthur opened the scoring with his first international goal, the midfielder receiving a pass from Gabriel Jesus before seeing his 20-yard effort take a huge deflection and wrongfoot goalkeeper Martin Campana.

Roberto Firmino squandered a great chance two minutes later when he was denied by Campana, but Brazil would double their lead through Richarlison.

A short corner led to an unmarked Richarlison getting on the end of a Renan Lodi cross to head in and make it 2-0.

There was still time for Uruguay to be denied by the woodwork again to finish the half, Diego Godin's header hitting the crossbar after Nicolas De La Cruz's set-piece.

After few chances to begin the second half, Uruguay's comeback chances were dealt a blow in the 71st minute, Cavani having a yellow card for a challenge on Richarlison upgraded to a red following a VAR check.

Just as Martin Caceres thought he had given the hosts hope with a goal shortly after, it was correctly ruled out for offside, Uruguay unable to find a way back into the contest.

 

What does it mean? Brazil stay perfect

In what is a gruelling qualifying campaign, Brazil have made a dream start with four wins from four. Tite's men finished top of the 2018 standings with 12 wins, and they are on track for another dominant campaign.

No Neymar, few problems for Brazil

Without their star forward due to a thigh injury, Brazil still managed back-to-back wins to continue their perfect start to qualifying. However, they missed the Paris Saint-Germain star's spark in Montevideo, creating few chances but making the most of those they had to claim three points.

Uruguay still can't find a way against Brazil

The loss extended Uruguay's winless run against Brazil to 11 games, with their last victory in meetings between the nations coming in 2001. It could have been different with some luck after Nunez and Godin hit the crossbar in the first half and Caceres had an effort ruled out in the second.

What's next?

Brazil and Uruguay continue their qualifying campaigns in March next year. Tite's men will face Colombia and Argentina, while Uruguay meet Lionel Scaloni's side and Bolivia.

Manchester United and Brazil left-back Alex Telles has tested negative for coronavirus, allaying fears he had contracted the illness for a second time.

Media reports emanating from Brazil in the past few days suggested Telles had once again returned a positive test result for COVID-19, having previously been diagnosed with it at the end of October.

That was a frustrating setback for the full-back, who at that point had only recently made his United debut, which had been delayed due to an international window right after he joined from Porto last month.

When reports began to suggest Telles was one of the rare cases of someone contracting the virus multiple times, it looked set to be a major worry for United having already lost regular left-back Luke Shaw until December with a hamstring injury.

But the Brazilian Football Confederation confirmed Telles is available to face Uruguay in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier, confirming on their website: "Thiago Galhardo was listed after Alex Telles' tests were positive for COVID-19.

"The defender already had the disease, was asymptomatic and with a non-transmissible condition of the virus, but he could not travel to Uruguay.

"On the last examination, however, Telles' test came back negative and the defender was released for the game."

United are next in action on Saturday against West Brom.

 

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez admitted there was a sense of "relief" to be facing a Brazil side without Neymar in World Cup qualifying.

Brazil's perfect record in World Cup 2022 qualifying will be put to the test in Montevideo on Tuesday, and they will be without Neymar due to a thigh injury.

Uruguay will be without a key player of their own after star forward Luis Suarez tested positive for coronavirus.

While unsure if Neymar's absence would give Uruguay an advantage, Tabarez said he was relieved.

"Neymar is among the great players of today and beyond fulfilling obligations of tasks that he has to do at the defensive level, in attack he is very prominent … it shows that in Brazil space is given to his individual creativity," he told a news conference.

"That makes the Brazilian attack stronger because of his speed, his technique, his one-on-one decision, his persistence and his winning mentality. He is very happy when he wins and hot when he loses. This is the type of player who feels like football and plays to achieve things.

"That he is not here tomorrow, I do not know if it will be an advantage for us, but if it is some relief, apart from the fact that Brazil have great forwards.

"We face the best team of these qualifiers, of the past and of many more."

Uruguay have grabbed six points from their opening three qualifiers, but they are winless in their previous 10 meetings with Brazil.

They are coming off a 3-0 win over Colombia as Edinson Cavani, Suarez and Darwin Nunez scored.

Tabarez revealed Cavani was dealing with a blister while playing 78 minutes against Colombia, having had limited game time since joining Manchester United.

"Edinson Cavani, after having had a long time away from the pitches and training, since March of this year, he reappeared at Manchester United in the last minutes of the games and in one of them he scored a goal, which is very important for a scorer like him," he said.

"That was the immediate previous experience, and now he played 78 minutes with some problems, a very annoying blister, but he showed great dedication and a lot of intelligence in his interventions."

Luis Suarez has tested positive for coronavirus and is set to miss Atletico Madrid's LaLiga clash with his former club Barcelona.

The 33-year-old will also sit out Uruguay's World Cup qualifier with Brazil on Tuesday after contracting COVID-19 while away with his national side.

Uruguay confirmed in a statement on Monday that Suarez and team-mate Rodrigo Munoz, as well as backroom staff member Matias Faral, are all following coronavirus protocols.

The news comes five days before Suarez was set to take on Barcelona, the club he left for a nominal fee in September after six years at Camp Nou.

He has played nine times for Atletico since joining and has five goals in six LaLiga outings. Only Real Sociedad's Mikel Oyarzabal has scored more, having played a further three games.

Suarez's six league goals have come from 22 shots, eight of which were on target, both of which are the most of any Atletico player this season.

Speaking to Marca this week, Suarez reiterated his disappointment at being forced out of Barcelona during the most recent transfer window.

"I was sad and hurt by the way I left – I already said it," he admitted. "But when they close a door, five more open to you where they value my work, professionalism and trajectory. I feel proud. 

"Where they did not want me, there was another that wanted me. I found happiness and I'm enjoying this moment now."

Marquinhos has warned his Brazil team-mates to be "100 per cent" focused on the threat of Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani in Tuesday's 2022 World Cup qualifying clash.

Cavani spent seven years playing alongside defender Marquinhos at Paris Saint-Germain after they both joined the Ligue 1 giants in July 2013. 

The Uruguayan left PSG at the end of the 2019-20 campaign as the club's all-time record goalscorer having found the net 200 times. 

Indeed, only Lionel Messi (432) and Cristiano Ronaldo (416) have scored more goals in Europe's top five leagues since Cavani (250) debuted for Palermo in 2007.

Brazil have won all three of their qualifiers so far, but Marquinhos says they need to be acutely aware of the danger posed by Cavani – who joined Manchester United on a free transfer in October – in Montevideo if they are to extend their perfect start.

"For me, it was very good to work with Cavani because he is a great attacker," he said. "In confrontations you had to be very careful with him and try to cancel him in the best way. 

"I really like to face great attackers, to be able to raise my level and train in the best way. That is what makes you improve and grow every day. 

"Cavani is a very decisive player and one who gives a lot to his teams. We know how important he has been for his team. He plays everywhere on the field, attacks and defends. 

"We will have to be 100 per cent focused because at the slightest mistake, he can score a goal."

Cavani scored his 51st international goal in Friday's impressive 3-0 qualifying win over Colombia and will likely start up front alongside Luis Suarez against Brazil, the Atletico Madrid striker also scoring in the victory in Barranquilla.

Marquinhos is well aware of the danger posed by the potent pair, but he remains quietly confident Brazil's defence has enough experience to keep them quiet.

"We are always concerned with the great attackers," he added. "They are players that I will have to face individually, but ours is a collective work. 

"There are many things we can do to make the game difficult for those players and make it easier for us in defence. Sure, we are concerned, but collectively we will try to limit them."

Lucas Paqueta showed Neymar is not irreplaceable by giving Brazil something they were missing against Venezuela, according to assistant coach Matheus Bacchi.

Neymar was called up by Brazil for their 2022 World Cup qualifiers despite suffering from a groin injury as it was hoped he would be fit in time to feature against Uruguay on Tuesday.

However, he was sent back to Paris Saint-Germain to continue his recovery ahead of an uninspiring 1-0 victory over Venezuela at Morumbi on Friday.

The Selecao struggled to create openings in the first half but Paqueta replaced the booked Douglas Luiz at half-time and supplied an incisive pass for the move that resulted in Roberto Firmino scoring the only goal of the game.

"Whenever you have a player of the level of Neymar, with the ability to generate imbalance, the team will miss him," said Bacchi, son of head coach Tite.

"We missed him even more in this game to find an alternative and make space in the man-to-man marking.

"The entrance of Paqueta was a way to find a new path, to move to find the pass in that direction. Neymar is not irreplaceable, but he is indispensable."

Tite added: "In the first half we didn't have enough width to break the man-to-man marking. The passing triangles started to happen with the goal, which started with Paqueta.

"It ended up working [the substitution] due to what the game needed, with Douglas Luiz's card and the entry of a creative, attacking midfielder in Paqueta.

"The use of these pieces is challenging and brings these lessons within the difficulty of the game."

Paqueta was left out of the squad for the first round of qualifiers but was proud to have returned and helped the team break down a tough opponent, who defended deep throughout.

"They were respecting us. They were very compact. We looked for our way to overcome them. Thank God, we found the goal and won the three points," Paqueta told CBF TV.

"We were able to read the game well at half-time. We found the spaces in the second half and broke through their blockade."

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