Neymar is making good progress in his recovery from thigh and
knee knocks ahead of Friday’s World Cup quarter-final against Colombia,
Brazil’s team doctor said on Tuesday.
The Barcelona forward came out of last Saturday’s last-16 win against
Chile battered and bruised but has undergone treatment at Brazil’s
Teresopolis training base and will train normally on Wednesday.
“He took a blow to the left thigh and the right knee, but he has worked
alongside the rest of the squad. He is recovering very well,” doctor
Jose Luiz Runco told journalists.
For the second day running, those players who started the epic clash
against Chile were restricted to indoor work, and Runco hit back at
suggestions in the Brazilian media that the team are not training hard
enough, with the match against Colombia only three days away.
“I need my team to play, not to train,” he said.
“They need to rest. They played 120 minutes at one in the afternoon and
it was a game that used up a huge amount of strength physically and
Neymar was one of those who watched on as a team of Brazilian reserves
won 2-0 in a practice match against a youth side from Rio de Janeiro
club Fluminense on Tuesday, with Paulinho scoring both goals.
The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was dropped from the side against Chile
after disappointing during the group stage, but is the leading
contender to come back into the team against Colombia in the absence of
Luiz Gustavo due to suspension.
The other options for coach Luiz Felipe Scolari are to introduce
Hernanes for the first time in this World Cup, or even push David Luiz
forward into a holding midfield role with Dante coming into central
Meanwhile, Chelsea midfielder Ramires, another player on the fringes of
the starting line-up, insisted that Brazil are better prepared to handle
stress after the dramatic win over Chile.
“If we have to go through the same thing again, we will be much better
prepared,” he said at a press conference, recalling the penalty
shoot-out success against the Chileans.
Several Brazil players broke down in tears after, and even before the shoot-out, including captain Thiago Silva.
Ramires added: “It was the emotion of the occasion, playing for 90
minutes plus extra time and penalties in the heat and with 200 million
people urging you to win.
“The team is prepared to deal with the emotional side of things both on and off the field.”