Assessing Neymar's Contribution for Brazil vs. Switzerland

Christopher AtkinsContributor IAugust 14, 2013

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 14:  Neymar of Brazil reacts during the international friendly match between Switzerland and Brazil at St. Jakob Stadium on August 14, 2013 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Daniel Kopatsch/Getty Images)
Daniel Kopatsch/Getty Images

How much can we really learn from Brazil's 1-0 defeat to Switzerland? Given the stage of the season and lack of preparation time, the answer has to be very little. The same has to apply to the performance of Neymar.

The young star is not in great shape ahead of the new season, having been diagnosed with anaemia following an operation to remove his tonsils earlier in the summer. Head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, in particular, has been outspoken over Barcelona's handling of their new signing. (Goal)

Given the coach's comments and Neymar's clear lack of match fitness, then, it was strange to see the former Santos forward play the entire 90 minutes.

On another day, he may not have seen out the match. A lunge on Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner prompted handbags during the first-half and, while a red card would have been a harsh decision, Neymar certainly left himself at the mercy of the official. On this occasion, a yellow sufficed.

It was a night of frustration, though, for both Brazil and its star. Neymar was unable to create chances for himself or others against Switzerland's well-organised defence, but his performance was not out of place in a sub-par team performance.

Fellow forwards Hulk and Fred were well off the required level, while Chelsea's Oscar was also disappointingly ineffective in Basel. Perhaps a post-Confederations Cup hangover was to be expected, but Felipao will doubtless be extremely disappointed with the performance of his side.

There were brief glimpses of the talent that Neymar possesses, but they were all too brief. It wasn't through lack of trying, but he was simply nowhere near form or fitness on Wednesday night.

When a second half shot hit the outside of his boot and ran out of play near the corner flag, Neymar's frustration with his own showing was clear. It was simply never going to be his night.

The use of pre-season international friendlies have been questioned in the past and, for Brazil, who travel around Europe on their "World Tour," the validity is even more questionable.

It would seem unlikely that Neymar will start for Barcelona this weekend as they open their 2013-14 La Liga season and, perhaps, should have been afforded a smaller role for Brazil on this occasion.

While it is important to maintain some form of consistency to build upon the Confederations Cup, using fit and in-form players—such as Bernard—may have been a better option.