Brazil will face Switzerland at the World Cup on Monday without Neymar, ruled out by an ankle injury suffered in the 2-0 win over Serbia on debut, but midfielder Casemiro believes the five-time world champion has an army of young talent to take his place.
Brazil, one of the big favourites to win in Qatar, trained behind closed doors at Al Arabi Stadium ahead of their second Group G match against Switzerland.
“We could spend several days talking about Neymar, his qualities and how important he is for our team, he is the one who makes the difference. However, we have other players who have been performing at the same level such as Vinicius Jr, Raphinha, Richarlison, Gabriel Jesus, Rodrygo, Gabriel Martinelli,” Casemiro told a news conference on Saturday.
“We who play in the back often joke that we feel sorry for our opponents because we can replace Raphinha with Antony, Richarlison with Gabriel Jesus. We have a wide range of options and that’s great for us, but it doesn’t change the fact that Neymar is our best player.”
Rodrygo would be the first choice if manager Tite decides to use the same system with four men up front alongside Vinicius, Richarlison and Raphinha.
Casemiro did not give hints about the line-up but did talk about his former Real Madrid teammate.
“Rodrygo delights everyone with his game, he is a star player, he has the natural gift of playing football. It’s nice to watch him play, those who like football, will always enjoy watching him play,” he said.
Brazil will also be without full-back Danilo, who also suffered an ankle injury against the Serbs, and his replacement is the biggest question mark for Monday’s game, as veteran Dani Alves, 39, is the only right-back available.
“If Alves is here it is because he is capable and ready to play, but if he does not play it would not be a surprise because Militao has shown that he can fulfill playing as a winger,” Casemiro said.