Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Injury-hit Brazil, Argentina resume WC qualifying

Injury-hit Brazil, Argentina resume WC qualifying

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An injured Neymar will sit out Brazil’s game against Venezuela but will travel with the squad in hopes he is ready for Uruguay on November 17. AFP

Injury-hit Brazil, Argentina resume WC qualifying

Brazil must confront a growing injury list that includes star forward Neymar as they resume World Cup qualifying this week, while Argentina are out to extend their perfect start at home to neighbours Paraguay.

Copa America champions Brazil host Venezuela in Sao Paulo on Friday chasing a third win in as many matches after launching their Qatar 2022 campaign with victories over Bolivia and Peru.

However, Brazil coach Tite will be without Neymar after the world’s most expensive player injured his thigh while on Champions League duty with Paris Saint-Germain in Turkey last month.

Neymar, 28, bagged a hat-trick in a 4-2 win in Lima last time out to surpass Ronaldo as Brazil’s second leading scorer in history. His tally of 64 goals leaves him 13 shy of Pele’s record.

Despite his latest setback Neymar will still travel with the squad amid hopes that he may recover in time for the trip to Uruguay on November 17.

However, national team coordinator Juninho Paulista said Tite told PSG sporting director Leonardo that he “would never risk a player’s health”.

Defender Thiago Silva has tightened up the Chelsea defence since his arrival in England, but the 36-year-old has warned the crowded global fixture list is taking its toll on players.

“You have to keep endlessly reinventing yourself. We’re losing players infected by Covid-19, or others who get hurt because we’re playing too many matches. We’re not machines,” he said.

“We saw recent studies showing it’s more than likely you get injured after four or five matches come one after another (every three days). It’s very worrying for us.”

While goalkeeper Alisson Becker and forward Gabriel Jesus return after injury, Brazil will also be without Casemiro, Philippe Coutinho and Fabinho.

Argentina, who began qualifying with narrow wins over Ecuador and Bolivia, are hoping Lionel Messi will be fit for both their games against Paraguay and Peru.

Messi dealing with ankle knock

The Barcelona forward is said to be nursing a sore ankle, leaving Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni considering his options if his captain is unavailable.

Paulo Dybala is again missing from the squad along with Sergio Aguero, although Angel Di Maria has been recalled for the first time in over a year.

Lautaro Martinez will likely start up front while super-sub Joaquin Correa could be rewarded for his winning goal in the altitude of La Paz.

Lucas Alario has also forced his way into contention after scoring seven goals for Bayer Leverkusen in his past four Bundesliga appearances.

Uruguay meet Colombia in Barranquilla on Friday attempting to bounce back from last month’s 4-2 loss in Ecuador.

Luis Suarez is the joint leading scorer in qualifying with three goals, all of them penalties, carrying over his form from club level with Atletico Madrid.

Real Madrid midfielder Fede Valverde is out with a fractured shin and Maxi Gomez is absent due to a knee problem for Uruguay.

Argentine coach Gustavo Alfaro has vowed to put his “heart and soul into getting Ecuador to Qatar” after they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

“Right now, Ecuador is more a handful of very good intentions than a (finished) team,” Alfaro told FIFA.com.

“As I said before, the challenge is to convert hope into reality. I’m not here to manage a team but rather to win.”

“I have to admit that it’ll be a disappointment if we’re not at the next World Cup,” he added, with his team playing away to Bolivia on Thursday.

Last year’s Copa America runners-up Peru on Friday play Chile – the country that won the tournament in 2015 and 2016.

Both nations are looking to breathe life into their qualifying bids in Santiago after collecting just a point from the opening two rounds.


  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused