Neymar Returns to Brazil Training After Injury Scare, Fit for Costa Rica Match

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IJune 20, 2018

SOCHI, RUSSIA - JUNE 19:  Neymar Jr smiles during a training session at Yug-Sport Stadium on June 19, 2018 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Neymar returned to Brazil training on Wednesday and is expected to feature in the Selecao's second game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup against Costa Rica on Friday. 

The Paris Saint-Germain star was forced out of a session on Tuesday with an ankle injury but has trained normally and "is not considered a doubt," per Marca's Juan Ignacio Garcia-Ochoa.

Neymar has only recently returned to action following a long-term injury lay-off after undergoing surgery on a fractured metatarsal in March.

However, the ankle injury suffered in training is believed to be unconnected to his previous problem and was a result of a knock picked up in Brazil's 1-1 draw with Switzerland, per DPA (h/t Marca).

Neymar came in for some rough treatment against Switzerland as he was fouled 10 times:

Switzerland defender Stephan Lichtsteiner was not too impressed with Brazil's behaviour during the game, per David Hytner at the Guardian.

"Every time they fell down, it was a whistle, a foul," he said. "This was a bit of a challenge. You think: 'Don't be too aggressive because every time they go down, it's a foul.' For that I was a bit careful after my yellow card."

Brazil were the pre-tournament favourites to win the World Cup, but the draw means they lie second in Group E behind Serbia and with work to do in their remaining games.

Neymar's fitness will be of concern as the forward is their talisman and a vital figure for Tite's men. Team-mate Philippe Coutinho explained why he's so important, as shown by Omnisport:

The PSG star came in for criticism for his performance against Switzerland. Bleacher Report's Dean Jones offered his view:

There was a sense that Neymar was playing for himself rather than the team, and Brazil will need to show more cohesion and unity if they are to go on and lift the World Cup.

Neymar's pace and skill on the ball make him a nightmare for defenders. However, Brazil have a talented squad and should be able to cope without the forward, per football writer Paulo Freitas:

Brazil face Costa Rica on Friday and will be aiming to pick up their first win of the tournament. Neymar should start the game and will be expected to open his account after failing to score against the Swiss.

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