Brazil’s star striker Neymar is set to face Colombia in the host nation’s World Cup quarter-finals clash this Friday, depsite the Golden Boot contender suffering from left thigh and right knee injuries following the side’s win over Chile in the second round.
Neymar required treatment after 28 minutes against Chile after being on the wrong end of challenges from Arturo Vidal, Gary Medel and Charles Aránguiz, and will be evaluated to see if he is fit to face Colombia on Friday night.
“The worst is the knee – it’s what’s hurting the most,” said Brazil spokesman Rodrigo Paiva. “He will be evaluated again, but team doctor Jose Luiz Runco said fans don’t have to worry because he’s not a concern for the match.”
Five-time World Cup winners Brazil enter their quarter-finals match against Colombia with enhanced odds of 3/1 with Titanbet for new customers only, with Colombia also an enhanced 5/1 with Titanbet to cause an upset.
22-year-old Neymar has so far proved the inspiration he was tipped to be for the host nation during the 2014 World Cup, scoring four goals including a brace against both Croatia and Cameroon in the group stages.
In the last-16 second round clash with Chile, he scored Brazil’s fifth spot-kick in the decisive penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw, before Chile defender Gonzalo Jara missed to put Brazil into the quarter-finals against Colombia.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari added: “We will do our best to put him on the pitch. Neymar needs to be valued for what he did because it was a big effort.
“He played 75 minutes of the match after a strong hit on the thigh and we couldn’t understand how somebody hits with that strength and gets no card.”
Colombia have scored at least two goals in all four of their winning games during an impressive World Cup campaign so far, while striker James Rodriguez has scored five times and heads the Golden Boot list.
Former Chelsea manager Scolari will not face any further injury worries it seems, and says only victory in the World Cup is an option.
“We took upon ourselves this mission that we must be champions,” said Scolari, who won the World Cup with Brazil 12 years ago in 2002. “If you make a promise, you must deliver. This is what the players are doing. There are three more games to see if we can reach heaven.”
Brazil take on Colombia at 9pm in Fortaleza on Friday 4 July, the match shown live on ITV. You can also compare all the odds for the 2014 World Cup right here.