Brazil worried about Neymar and other professionals

Vbefore the round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar the injury worries at record world champions Brazil are increasing. That star Neymar for the game on Monday (20.00 in the FAZ live ticker for the World Cup and on MagentaTV) is fit again against South Korea seems increasingly unlikely. The two full-backs Alex Sandro and Danilo are not yet back at 100 percent.

After the 1-0 defeat in the final preliminary round match against Cameroon there was more bad news: Alex Telles, the second left-back in the squad alongside Alex Sandro, is even threatened with an early World Cup exit due to knee problems. Striker Gabriel Jesus also injured his knee in the game.

It was not easy for national coach Tite to explain the bad luck with injuries. “Hard question. The physical requirements are getting higher and higher. There are shorter intervals between games,” said the 61-year-old. “In addition, the World Cup is mentally very demanding. It sucks you dry.” The needless loss to the West Africans through Vincent Aboubakar’s late stoppage-time strike was a warning shot for the Seleção, who had been defending so confidently until then. However, the Brazilians are much more concerned with their personnel problems.

Should Neymar not be able to return to the training ground on Saturday, his absence on Monday would be certain. The same applies to Alex Sandro, who has a hip injury. “We still have 72 hours, we still have a chance. Let’s wait and see,” said team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar late on Friday evening. “They haven’t started the ball yet. Hopefully that will happen tomorrow.”.

First World Cup victory for Cameroon in 20 years

Cameroon also experienced an emotional roller coaster on Friday evening. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting For example, he stared in amazement through the imposing round of the final stadium in Lusail, the FC Bayern Munich striker apparently couldn’t quite understand the cheering of some of his teammates and even his coach Rigobert Song. Cameroon was eliminated in the first round of the World Cup in Qatar, as they did every time except for the legendary quarter-finals in 1990. There was no room for joy at Choupo-Moting.

Vincent Aboubakar felt very differently. The regular captain, who had had to cede the starting position and captain’s armband to Choupo-Moting in the first two games, ensured a historic victory with a goal in added time. Aboubakar was so happy with his 1-0 winner against Brazil’s B team that he forgot his warning and received a second yellow card for being stripped of his shirt.

Referee Ismail Elfath was clearly uncomfortable with the situation. He congratulated Aboubakar on goal with a handshake and then slapped him on the shoulder before sending him off. But Cameroon’s captain wasn’t in a bad mood. “It’s a pity that we were eliminated,” said the 30-year-old: “But it’s still a special victory.” That means: it was worth the dismissal.

After all, it was the first success of an African team in a World Cup finals against the record world champions. It was Cameroon’s first World Cup win in 20 years since a team coached by Winfried Schäfer beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in 2002. And it was the second-best performance of the “irresistible lions” in their eighth appearance at the World Cup.

Formidable goalkeeper Devis Ebassy was hailed as a ‘hero’ by a home journalist at the press conference. A special satisfaction for the 29-year-old, who spent his entire childhood in France and only became a national team player in 2021. “A year ago nobody in Cameroon knew me,” said Ebassy, ​​who replaced the Inter Milan goalkeeper André Onana, who had been suspended for disciplinary reasons, from the second game onwards. “We can be proud of what we have achieved. We showed that we are also a top team. Unfortunately we got stuck.”

Coach Rigobert Song, once captain of the national team and professional at FC Liverpool and 1. FC Köln, only celebrated after the final whistle. About an hour later, the bitterness really came up. “I’m proud of the team, but I’m also sad,” said Song: “Because today we saw that we could have done better.” But in the end it was the 0-1 win against Switzerland that decided the game. “But I’m sure,” says Song, “that my young team will grow at this World Cup.”

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