Having dominated many negative headlines in the past few days, Brazilian striker Neymar has no doubt that he hopes to change the picture for him when he holds the hopes of the Brazilian team in their crucial match on Wednesday against his Serbian counterpart at Moscow’s Tikrit Arena in the third round. The last of Group F match at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Brazilian champions, who have won five titles and a strong candidate to compete for the title of the current edition, started the tournament with a 1-1 draw with Switzerland and beat Costa Rica 2-0 in the second round of the group.
The two qualifying matches will be decided by the match between Brazil and Serbia as well as the other match between the Swiss and Costa Rican teams at the Nizhny Novgorod stadium.
Brazil leads the group with four points and a goal difference against their Swiss counterpart followed by the Serbian team with three points and the Costa Rican team in fourth place without a balance.
The match against Costa Rica almost ended in a goalless draw, but the Brazilian team settled in a double in stoppage time and Neymar scored the second goal in the last minute. However, Neymar was criticized by the media for receiving an unjustified warning, as well as exaggerating the fall in the hope of a penalty.
Neymar also got into a state of controversy when he entered into an argument with veteran defender Thiago Silva during the game, as well as criticism of his over-preoccupation with changing his hairstyles in a few days at the World Cup.
Brazil has so far failed to meet their usual goals at the FIFA World Cup, during Switzerland, and in the Costa Rica match. Now the Brazilian need to draw a draw or win in the next round to qualify for the second round, while the Serbian side faces greater pressure and needs to win to secure qualification.
The 26-year-old is enough to meet his ambitions for the national team, but he seems to be on track to regain his best form after returning from a broken leg. He is also trying to regain the image of the star of the team under the good standards of his teammate Philippe Coutinho. Scored a goal in each of the last two games.
“It’s time for Neymar to start playing for the team, not for himself,” former Frenchman Marcel Desailly told. “Neymar has to control himself in the future,” the Brazilian daily Folia reported. But coach Tieti defended Neymar as a “human being,” indicating that the player was in control of his emotions.
“Not everyone knows what I did to participate here, even the parrots can speak, but few do,” said Neymar, who had tears in his eyes after scoring the late goal against Costa Rica. Joy, ambition, fighting spirit and the desire to win. “My life was never easy at all.”
Silva said he had been insulted by Neymar after returning Lobar to the Costa Rican side after stopping to play because of injury but hoped the goal helped Neymar adjust his emotions. “He has put a heavy burden on his shoulders, but now he will be more satisfied in the third match,” Silva was quoted as saying by the Spanish daily Marca.
Neymar’s warning of the ball in protest against the referee’s decision raised fears of a further warning against Serbia or the 16-man squad in case of qualification.
This raises concerns about the possibility of Germany being in the knockout stage in the last 16, which will be a revenge against Germany in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in the absence of Neymar, who was injured at the time. Right back Danilo and left-wing Douglas Costa are out of injury.
Wagner is expected to replace Danilo in the starting lineup. The player has confirmed that the team is aware of the importance of the confrontation and to make every effort to avoid Brazil’s exit from the first round of the World Cup for the first time since 1966.
“We all know the importance of the game and the importance of qualifying for the knockout stage,” Wagner said. As for Serbia, there is no alternative but to get rid of disappointment at the defeat of Switzerland 2-2 and resentment of the referee of the match, the German Felix Branch, and focus on performance again.
“We know the Brazilian team very well and analyzed its performance from all sides,” said AC Milan coach Milan Rastavac, “It will be a different game and we will seek solutions.”