Russia 2018 : Neymar to start Brazil v Costa Rica, coach Tite confirms
Neymar will start Brazil’s game against Costa Rica on Friday after coach Tite revealed he will field an unchanged team.
Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar completed the full 90 minutes in Brazil’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland in their Group E opener, but limped out of training during the week with an ankle injury.
After receiving physio treatment, Neymar returned to training the next day.
That session was closed to the media but the Brazilian soccer federation said Neymar “participated normally in the team’s activity”.
Neymar broke a bone in his foot in February, which ended his club season with PSG.
Asked if Neymar would be playing if it were not the World Cup finals, Tite told a press conference: “Yes, yes. It’s not a sacrifice. It’s an evolutionary process, you just speed up the steps. Yes, he would be playing. It’s not a sacrifice.
“We want to win, it’s a World Cup, but the coach is not going to risk a player’s health by being dishonest to him. That’s a price that’s too high to pay.
“Those values of health and honesty, no way, there’s no compromise.”
He returned and scored in World Cup warm-up friendly wins against Croatia and Austria but Tite admitted it could take up to five games for his star forward to be back to his best.
“He had a knock, but I think it was the first time in three-and-a-half months he played 90 minutes,” said Tite.
“We are calm. Five matches is the minimum you need to be fully fit and he has already sped up the process.”
Defender Thiago Silva will wear the armband against Costa Rica, taking over from Marcelo, who led the team against Switzerland, with Tite maintaining his policy of rotating the captaincy.
Brazil and Switzerland are two points behind group leaders Serbia, who beat Costa Rica in their group E opener.