Casemiro had a confession. “I generally really feel sorry for our opponents,” mentioned the Brazil midfielder at Manchester United. – We’ve so many good gamers. Provided that he wasn’t boasting or exaggerating however simply being trustworthy, it could appear one thing of a shock that Casemiro’s worldwide supervisor, Tite, his team-mate Marquinhos and Tite’s assistant César Sampaio spent most of a 40-minute media briefing on Sunday discussing an injured ahead.
No prizes for guessing the person is Neymar, with query after query centered on how Brazil will fare with out him in opposition to Switzerland on Monday and the way the striker with 75 objectives in 122 appearances for his nation could possibly be changed.
Tite used many phrases to, engagingly and instructively, keep away from answering each requests. “We’ve already determined the beginning gamers however we are going to solely talk it proper earlier than the sport,” mentioned the coach, who couldn’t supply a timeframe for Neymar’s return from an ankle harm however expressed confidence that the participant’s World Cup was not over. “Soccer is about context and generally we’ve got to be strategic,” he mentioned. “We’ve to assume exterior the field however we’re very assured that we’ve got the suitable alternative.”
Sitting subsequent to him, Marquinhos repeatedly referred to his boss as “the professor”. Nonetheless, Tite saved a lot of his knowledge to himself. He solely smiled when somebody requested if the versatile and richly proficient Newcastle midfielder Bruno Guimarães can fill Neymar’s quantity 10 position between Raphinha and Vinícius Júnior, and simply behind Richarlison.
Tite was extra accommodating when requested if the referees ought to give extra safety to Neymar, injured after a heavy problem from Nikola Milenkovic in the course of the opening 2-0 Group G win in opposition to Serbia. “If you wish to rejoice soccer, it’s a must to take note of fouls,” the 61-year-old mentioned. “They aim particular gamers and that is the impact. It must be stopped.”
Many Brazilian followers need to see Actual Madrid’s 21-year-old attacking prodigy Rodrygo fill the hole left by Neymar, however others would transfer Lucas Paquetá ahead from midfield.
“We won’t cease speaking about Neymar,” Casemiro mentioned. “It is simply how necessary he’s to us. He is our largest participant, the distinction for us, however we’ve got a whole lot of different superb gamers as nicely. Rodrygo, for instance, lights up the eyes and delights everybody who sees him play.”
After selecting an ultra-attacking beginning line-up in opposition to Serbia, Tite could also be a bit extra conservative at Stadium 974. Though Brazil stay robust favourites, Switzerland managed to carry them to a 1-1 draw within the opening sport of Russia 2018.
Their supervisor, Murat Yakin, has his personal high-caliber expertise within the likes of inventive catalyst Xherdan Shaqiri, midfielder Granit Xhaka and Yaoundé-born striker Breel Embolo, scorer in Thursday’s 1-0 win over Cameroon.
Whereas Embolo isn’t in Neymar’s league, it is easy to discover a participant who runs his personal charity basis serving to Swiss refugees and deprived youngsters in Cameroon infinitely extra interesting than Brazil’s talisman. Many Brazilians have been outraged by Neymar’s very public help for the nation’s far-right, polarizing outgoing president, Jair Bolsonaro.
The opinions of those that argue that Tite’s group are sometimes higher balanced with out Neymar, who has pledged to dedicate his first objective to Qatar 2022 Bolsonaro, are sometimes coloured as a lot by politics as ways. “Neymar would not deserve this,” Casemiro mentioned. “He has a giant coronary heart.”
Tite additionally lamented that Danilo can be nursing an injured ankle. The supervisor declined to establish the Juventus defender’s alternative – though 39-year-old Dani Alves is extensively anticipated to return at right-back – and indicated some warning could possibly be referred to as for in opposition to Switzerland.
“They’re totally different from Serbia,” he mentioned. “They’ve very clever midfielders and forwards; we are able to nonetheless play offensively however another way.”
As Sampaio started to talk, the story resumed as a well-recognized theme. “Neymar is a rare expertise, clearly,” mentioned Tite’s assistant. “However we are able to belief our different gamers; they’re really a present to soccer. Neymar has the principle position however typically, as we see with the movies, somebody who isn’t the principle character steals the scene.”
Marquinhos agreed. “We want we might have Neymar and Danilo with us,” mentioned the PSG defender. “However the professor can verify that the proficient gamers we’ve got will preserve our degree. Switzerland will give us a run for our cash, however we are able to nonetheless seal our place within the final sixteen.”
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