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Neymar

Brazil admit they are still sweating on Neymar's fitness ahead of South Korea World Cup last 16 clash

12:23 SAST 2022/12/03
Neymar Brazil 2022
Neymar faces a race against time to be fit for Brazil's World Cup last-16 clash against South Korea as he trains with a ball for the first time.
  • Neymar out since matchday one
  • Injury to ankle sidelined him
  • Unsure whether he'll be fit for last 16

WHAT HAPPENED? Neymar was the victim of a particularly heavy challenge in Brazil's World Cup opener against Serbia, and hasn't featured at the tournament since. The talismanic attacker is still an injury doubt for their round of 16 clash against South Korea, with the game falling just three days after their final group stage match on Friday.

WHAT THEY SAID: Brazil's team doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, offered a tentative update for Neymar and teammate Alex Sandro, saying: "We think we have time on our hands and there is a possibility. Let’s wait what their transition will be - they have still not started to practice with the ball and it’s something they will do tomorrow. It will be important to see how they respond to this new style, so depending on that, we will make a call."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Brazil secured passage to the knockout stages relatively easily, they would rather see Neymar return as soon as possible. Coach Tite made nine changes for their final group game, which they lost 1-0 to Cameroon, with several first-team players missing out due to injury. A return for their star man would certainly be welcome as Brazil look to lift the trophy for a sixth time.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

Neymar's ankle took a hefty blow against Serbia...

WHAT NEXT FOR BRAZIL? A match against South Korea lies waiting in the first knockout round for Brazil. Should they win that they will face one of Japan or Croatia in the quarter-finals.