World Cup favorites Brazil is rushing to recover from crucial player injuries as they get ready for their last-16 match against South Korea on Monday, following a 1-0 loss to Cameroon on Friday night with a drastically altered lineup.
They only have one pure full back available due to left back Alex Telles’ knee injury sustained in the match against Cameroon, while Neymar is still recovering from an ankle injury sustained in their first victory over Serbia.
beginning fullbacks Due to injuries sustained earlier in the competition, Danilo and Alex Sandro are out, and it is still unknown when they will be available.
Tite made nine changes to the team that defeated Switzerland 1-0 on Friday, despite having already qualified for the next round with two victories. As a result, Brazil suffered its first World Cup defeat to an African nation.
“The physical demand is ever increasing, the time is short, it’s a cumulative effect of games and sometimes you don’t have the ideal recovery time on your hands,” coach Tite told a news conference on Friday.
“I don’t really know what to say other than that, mentally, the Cup is very demanding. It drains you. The intensity of the matches, the preparation – they are components of analysis that we have to delve into deeper, but they are all considerable.”
Neymar, Alex Sandro, and Danilo should be on the field to test their condition, according to Tite, who refused to let the media watch their training session on Saturday.
The situation involving Alex Telles appears more serious.
“It doesn’t look good, and the players know when something is not right,” captain Thiago Silva told reporters on Friday.
“He felt a really strong pain in his knee and was really worried in the changing room. We all tried to cheer him up but he was not feeling right.”
If neither is available, center back Marquinhos may swap to the left and 39-year-old Dani Alves, who started Brazil’s World Cup game against Cameroon, may be given a chance to play on the right.
The Real Madrid prospect Rodrygo is likely to be Tite’s first choice if Neymar is still sidelined, given the midfield combination of Fred and Casemiro from Manchester United in the match against Switzerland wasn’t particularly effective.
Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle could also be a substitute, moving Lucas Paqueta up to a playmaking position.
Son Heung-min, South Korea’s talisman, will be expected to lead his team against the overwhelming favorites on Monday after working himself to exhaustion on Friday to ensure that his team advanced to the round of 16 with a thrilling 2-1 victory over Portugal.
Since they shared hosting duties with Japan in 2002, the Koreans are the only Asian team to have advanced to the semifinals. On Monday, they will try to repeat history by shocking Brazil.
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