Brazil without Neymar as Portugal target World Cup last 16

Portugal aim for World Cup last 16 from Brazil without Neymar

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Brazil will have to make do without injured star forward Neymar against Switzerland at the World Cup on Monday as Cristiano Ronaldo looks to lead Portugal into the last 16 in Qatar.

Five-time world champions Brazil can secure a place in the knockout stages with a win over Switzerland, depending on the result of the day’s opening game between Serbia and Cameroon.

Brazil opened their campaign in Qatar with a 2-0 win over Serbia in Group G, but Neymar was sidelined with an ankle sprain.

“It was difficult for him at the time and he was sad after the game which I think is normal considering how much he has dreamed of it,” said Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos.

“Now, after tests and treatment, he is doing 24-hour physiotherapy which shows how much he wants to be back with us.

“We don’t know when, but we hope it’s soon.”

Ronaldo became the first man to score in five World Cups after converting a controversial penalty in Portugal’s opening 3-2 win over Ghana in Group H.

The Portuguese will qualify for the second round by beating Uruguay at the Lusail Stadium, which will host the final on 18 December.

Danilo Pereira has been ruled out of the rest of the group stage after fracturing three ribs in training, meaning Pepe, 39, is likely to start in defence.

This would make him the second oldest outfield player to appear in a World Cup match after Cameroon great Roger Milla.

Cameroon lost to Switzerland in their first game, so will attempt to make a comeback against Serbia, which is being investigated by FIFA after the team put up a controversial flag depicting Kosovo in their changing room before losing to Brazil. was.

South Korea coach Paulo Bento says the team will see a “different” Son Heung-min against Ghana after the forward got used to his protective face mask during a 0-0 draw with Uruguay.

Before coming to Qatar, he had surgery to repair a fracture around his son’s left eye earlier this month while playing for Tottenham Hotspur.

“First he needed to feel comfortable with his teammates and then with the opponents. The second game will be different,” Bento said.

– Germany hopes –

Germany had a chance of qualifying for the last 16 after substitute Niklas Feulkrug grabbed a late equalizer to earn a 1-1 draw with Spain on Sunday.

Alvaro Morata had put Spain ahead in the 62nd minute of a tense meeting at the Al Bayt Stadium between the winners of two of the last three World Cups.

After a shock defeat to Japan in their opening game, Germany will have woken up on Sunday with the prospect of a second successive group-stage exit in the back of their minds.

But even before Spain could be captured, Costa Rica helped the Germans, who came back from a 7–0 defeat by Spain, to beat Japan 1–0. Defender Keisher Fuller scored the lone goal in the 81st minute.

It means that Group E is in good condition. Germany’s position could worsen if it beats the Costa Ricans on Thursday and Spain avoids defeat by Japan.

“The important thing is that we are still alive,” said Germany’s captain Manuel Neuer.

Belgium’s hopes of qualifying from Group F were dealt a blow as they went down 2-0 to Morocco.

A victory for Belgium would have sent them through to the knockout stage, but late goals from Romain Sass and Zakaria Aboukhlal gave Morocco their first World Cup win in 24 years.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said, “We are not playing happily. It is probably a load on our shoulders.”

In Sunday’s other Group F game, Croatia fell behind Canada when Alphonso Davies scored just two minutes before the 2018 final to seal a 4-1 win.

Croatia now need just a draw against Belgium in their final group game on Thursday to progress to the last 16, but Belgium must beat them to ensure victory.

Morocco would be confident of taking a point from Canada to advance to the second stage for the first time since 1986, while the eliminated Canadians would just be playing for pride.

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