In football, nothing is inevitable. However, Neymar getting injured at the World Cup was seemingly a certainty.
The Brazil winger suffered an ankle injury in his nation’s 2-0 victory over Serbia in their opening match of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
This has ruled him out for their remaining two group stage matches against Switzerland and Cameroon, with the possibility of missing further games in the knockout rounds.
This makes it the third World Cup in a row that Neymar has been either suffering with or sustained an injury, with Brazil being heavily affected the two previous times.
In early 2018, Neymar suffered another ankle injury while playing for PSG which ruled him out for the remaining sixteen games of the league season.
He went to the World Cup in Russia not fully fit and decided to play through the pain until Brazil were knocked out in the quarter-final by Belgium.
Back in 2014, Neymar sustained a horrific back injury in the quarter-final of the World Cup against Colombia which nearly ended his footballing career.
Brazil went on to famously lose 7-1 to Germany in the semi-final without their star man.
The recent history of Brazil’s performances without Neymar doesn’t shed a hopeful light on their aspirations to lift the World Cup this year.
However, they were able to grind out a 1-0 over Switzerland on Monday night thanks to a stunning strike from Manchester United midfielder, Casemiro.
The South American side go into the final group stage match against Cameroon on Friday night having already qualified for the knockout rounds and all but confirmed as group winners.
Brazil are one of the best footballing nations at this World Cup and are still considered heavy favourites to win it.
Their squad depth is arguably the best of any country in the world and their manager Tite has an array of talent at his disposal ready to attempt to fill Neymar’s boots.
Young Premier League stars such as Antony (Manchester United), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal) and Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal) are waiting to make their mark on the biggest stage in football and this could be their chance.
Neymar’s form this season is hard to be matched however, with 11 goals and 9 assists in 14 matches for PSG in Ligue 1.
The 30 year-old Brazilian is the second top scorer in the league, only one goal behind teammate and French international Kylian Mbappé.
We can only wait to see the outcome of Neymar’s injury and if he can get back for Brazil’s crucial knockout fixtures, with the first of them coming early next week.
Image Credit: AP