Brazil will be without “the star of the team” while Neymar nurses an ankle injury, but Casemiro expects him to return to World Cup duty.
An ankle ligament injury kept Neymar out of Brazil’s 2-0 win over Serbia on Thursday as the Qatar 2022 campaign got off to a late start.
Richarlison scored both of Brazil’s goals and the Tottenham forward’s form is one of the factors giving midfielder Casemiro heart.
Neymar will definitely miss Monday’s match with Switzerland and most likely Friday’s clash with Cameroon.
Whether he can recover in time to reach the knockout stages remains to be seen, but Brazil are optimistic.
Casemiro, quoted by Brazilian newspaper Globo, said: “If we keep talking about Neymar, we will stay here for a few days, because of his importance.
“He is the star of the team who makes the difference. But we have other players like him: Raphinha, Vini [Vinicius Junior], Richarlison. We have a wide range of options.
“Neymar is one of the best in the world and unfortunately he won’t be in the next game, but we have quality players to replace him, but obviously not at his level.”
Casemiro has named West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta as a player who could come into the starting line-up and bring extra oomph in Neymar’s absence.
“He is another important player,” Casemiro said. “Very dynamic, modern. Plays outside, inside, false nine.”
Defender Danilo is also on the sidelines for Brazil so far, but Manchester United star Casemiro is backing both to return to contention for Tite’s starting spot.
“Danilo and Neymar work morning, afternoon and night and give the best effort in the world. They know they are important,” Casemiro said.
“We have great professionals and health comes first. They will do everything to get back to 100 percent as soon as possible.”