Brazil Cruises to Easy Win vs. Qatar Despite Neymar Injury in Copa America Tune-Up

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2019

Brazil's Neymar, right, gestures after being fouled during a friendly soccer match against Qatar at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Brazil and Qatar are preparing for the Copa America which runs from June 14 until July 7 in Brazil. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

Brazil won its friendly against Qatar on Wednesday, but the real story may have been a major loss.

Richarlison and Gabriel Jesus scored for the Brazilians in a 2-0 victory that was marred by the first-half injury to Neymar.

Neymar was helped off the pitch early in the first half after suffering an apparent ankle injury. He appeared to be in severe pain and did not walk on the leg as he was taken to the locker room by the medical staff.


πŸš¨πŸ‡§πŸ‡· Bad news for @CBF_Futebol as @neymarjr left the field injured and had to be helped up the tunnel with ice wrapped on his foot. https://t.co/kdqxan5sLP

If the injury is severe, Neymar could wind up missing the Copa America. This has already been an injury-plagued year for the PSG star, who missed three months this year because of a foot injury that kept him out of the club's Champions League loss to Manchester United.

This was Neymar's first appearance in a match since a woman said Friday he raped her in a Paris hotel on May 15. He has denied the allegation.

The loss of Neymar overshadowed a dominant performance from Brazil, which had no trouble controlling the pace on both ends.

Richarlison scored the match's first goal in the 16th minute, and Jesus added another eight minutes later to send Brazil into halftime with a comfortable lead.

Things did not change much in the second half, though Brazil's attack failed to find the back of the net again. The Brazilians finished the match with 19 shots (six on goal) while holding 63 percent of possession.

By contrast, Qatar only attempted six shots and did not have one on goal until the 79th minute. Ederson made his lone save and was not otherwise challenged.

Brazil hosts the Copa America beginning June 14. The host country will go in as favorites to win regardless of Neymar's status but could be much more vulnerable without its top star.

Brazil opens with a group match against Bolivia on the tournament's opening day.