Striker Neymar suffered a sprain in his left knee in Brazil’s 2-0 defeat to Uruguay, on Tuesday night (17), in Montevideo, in the World Cup qualifiers. The preliminary clinical assessment by the team’s doctors indicated a suspected rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament.
Imaging tests that will be carried out when the swelling in the region decreases will determine the exact severity of the problem. But the 31-year-old player’s reaction to the move – he had abnormal rotation in his knee when he tried to place his foot on the pitch after contact with the opponent and left the pitch loaded – made the concern great.
Newly signed by Al Hilal, Neymar arrived in Saudi Arabia after a series of seasons at Paris Saint-Germain, in France, hampered by injuries. The worst was a fracture in the little toe on his right foot, in 2019, but a ruptured knee ligament has the potential to be the most serious of his career.
The problem occurred at the end of the first half, when Brazil was already losing 1-0. Fernando Diniz’s men had possession of the ball for a large part of the game, but found it difficult to create clear scoring opportunities. In Uruguay’s first, in the 43rd minute, Darwin Núnez received a cross from Araújo and headed it into the net.
The play came from a throw-in, as did the second goal. In the 32nd minute of the final stage, Darwin Núñez won the physical fight in the area with Gabriel Magalhães and Casemiro and played the ball towards the small area. De la Cruz struck first time and killed his opponent’s chances – who only had one real opportunity, a free kick from Rodrygo against the crossbar.
The enthusiastic Uruguayan fans at the Centenário stadium even shouted “olé”. The celestial team reached seven points and took second place in the Qualifiers after four rounds, behind only Argentina. Brazil has the same score in the table, but is behind in the tiebreaker criteria.
Regardless of Neymar’s classification and injury, it was a significant result. Brazil hadn’t lost to Uruguay since 2001. They hadn’t lost to Uruguay by more than one goal since 1983. And they hadn’t lost any game in the World Cup qualifiers for eight years, with 37 matches unbeaten.
“We have to be realistic. We didn’t play well, the moment is not good, we need to improve”, said midfielder Casemiro, demanding a quick assimilation of Diniz’s ideas – the interim until next year, when the CBF (Confederation Brazilian Football Association) promises to present the Italian Carlo Ancelotti.