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Neymar injured, Richarlison scores for Brazil at World Cup

Neymar injured, Richarlison scores for Brazil at World Cup

Neymar injured, Richarlison scores for Brazil at World Cup

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) – With Neymar limping off the field with an ankle injury, Richarlison came on for the Seleção.

A spectacular acrobatic strike followed a low cross from close range as Richarlison scored both goals in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Serbia on Thursday at World Championship.

After the match, the Tottenham striker learned about the extent of Neymar’s injury.

“The most important thing is that we have him at 100% for the next match,” said Richarlison, whose first goal came after a build-up started by Neymar. “When I get to the hotel I’m going to see how he is.”

Brazil national team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said that Neymar sprained his right ankle. He declined to speculate on whether he would be ready to play in the team’s next match against Switzerland on Monday.

“We put ice on him while he was on the bench and then in physical therapy,” Lasmar said. “For now, there is no scheduled testing, but we will schedule it if necessary. He will be under surveillance. We will know more tomorrow.”

Neymar was also injured at the 2014 World Cup. Playing at home in Brazil, his tournament ended with a back injury in the quarter-finals against Colombia when he had to be carried off the field on a stretcher. Brazil lost to Germany 7-1 in the semi-finals.

In the match against Serbia, Neymar was fouled nine times, four more than any other player so far at this year’s World Cup. But while looking after Neymar, the opposing defense could not stop Richarlison.

He had his back to goal when he one-touched the ball into the air near the penalty area, then turned and bounced off the ground before tapping the ball into the net with his right foot in the 73rd minute.

“It’s a childhood dream come true,” said Richarlison, who is playing in his first World Cup. “We knew it would be difficult to get past them. I’m used to playing against defensive teams like this in England. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities I had and I did.”

Brazil struggled to break past the Serbian defense until Richarlison struck from close range in the 62nd minute. Vinícius Júnior assisted both goals.

Neymar, seeking his first major title with Brazil, remains on 75 goals for the national team, two short of Pele’s record.

He was hit hard several times, and in the second half he sprained his right ankle. He cried on the bench after being substituted in the 79th and limped as he left the stadium.

Brazil coach Tite started with an attack-minded squad that featured four strikers — Neymar, Vinícius Júnior, Raphinha and Richarlison. Attacking midfielder Lucas Paquetá played alongside Casemiro, the lone defensive midfielder.

But Serbia had several players back and managed to prevent Brazil from creating many meaningful chances. Neymar tried to control the tempo but struggled to break free. He, Vinícius Júnior and Raphinha missed chances early on.

Brazil’s best chance before Richarlison’s first goal was Alex Sandro’s long-range shot that hit the post in the 60th minute. Neymar had his best chances with a free kick in the 50th and a penalty kick in the 55th.

Serbia had problems with injuries in the match.

“We have three key players who are injured — that’s too much for us,” said Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic. “We are not Brazil with 200 million people. We are a very small country.”

Neymar, 30, arrived at his third World Cup as Brazil’s main attraction. He helped the Seleção win the 2013 Confederations Cup and his first Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, but has yet to win a major title with the national team.

Brazil, who are trying to win their first World Cup in two decades, are unbeaten in their last 20 opening games, with 17 wins. She has finished first in her group at the last 10 World Championships.

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports





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