Tite warned Brazil must be "very careful" in the knockout stage of the World Cup, when they will hope to have Neymar back from injury.

The Selecao lost 1-0 to Cameroon on Friday but still topped Group G, meaning they will face South Korea in the second round, rather than Portugal.

Spain's defeat the previous day appeared to open up the draw further for Brazil, who would now play the winner of Japan's clash with Croatia in the quarter-finals.

Regardless of their opponents, Brazil will feel more comfortable once Neymar is back in action, but he has not yet trained with a ball following his matchday one injury.

Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar added: "With 72 hours before the next match, we have time on our side. We still have possibilities."

With or without his star man, coach Tite certainly will not become complacent, explaining: "Brazil lost to Cameroon. Portugal lost to South Korea. France lost to Tunisia. Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia. I think the results speak for themselves.

"I think these are very strong, very tough matches. I don't think we can think any prior situation makes it easy. We need to be very careful.

"We were very careful with the match against Cameroon. We were. We had all of those cares, we took them. They had their merits, played vertically very well. They have merit for the victory like Tunisia and the others.

"We can't say it's easier and we have an advantage. We can't say that."

Tite had made nine changes to his Brazil team, selecting an entirely different XI to that which started their finals opener.

But he said: "Who lost? All of us. Our preparation is joint preparation, our wins are joint wins, our losses are also joint losses."

The coach called on Brazil to "feel the loss", saying: "The World Cup doesn't give you a second chance, but this time it did.

"We have to concentrate for 24 hours, suffer for 24 hours, and tomorrow we start getting ready."

Besides Neymar's progress, there was mixed news on the injury front, with Alex Sandro still recovering alongside the forward but Danilo set to train normally on Saturday.

That is a timely boost as Alex Telles and Gabriel Jesus are set for scans on knee injuries sustained against Cameroon.

Rigobert Song expressed regret over Cameroon's first two World Cup displays after they were eliminated from Group G despite becoming the first African team to beat Brazil at the tournament.

Cameroon needed to beat the pre-tournament favourites to have any chance of joining them in the last 16 on Friday, and they did so in dramatic fashion as Vincent Aboubakar scored a stoppage-time winner before receiving a second yellow card for celebrating by removing his shirt.

However, Switzerland's thrilling 3-2 win over Serbia ensured Murat Yakin's side finished two points clear of Cameroon, condemning them to a sixth consecutive group-stage exit at the World Cup.

The Indomitable Lions did at least go out on a high by ending Brazil's perfect World Cup record against African sides (previously played seven, won seven), but Song felt the result showed Cameroon could have gone further.

"I didn't even realise that this was such a historic victory. We are one of the African countries who have played more World Cups than most, and now we've beaten Brazil," Song said.

"My players deserve to be congratulated. They showed tonight they could have done better in the first two games [a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland and a 3-3 draw with Serbia].

"I think we do have a feeling of regret. Now we realise we could have done better. But we need to look on the positive side as well. 

"I'm trying to get across a team spirit, that lion's spirit, which needs to be the key to Cameroon teams.

"We realise now we could have done better in this tournament. We're a young team and today we've seen our young team getting stronger and stronger."

Cameroon began 2022 by finishing third at the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil, and with just over a year to prepare for the next edition of that tournament – which was pushed back to January 2024 due to weather concerns in Ivory Coast, Song is backing them to improve further.

"There's another tournament in 2024 and we've built up some momentum now," Song added.

"I'm satisfied with tonight's performance. I took over the national team not too long ago and I think we are progressing and improving, so I'm proud of this team."

Vincent Aboubakar fired Cameroon to a last-gasp 1-0 win over Brazil before being sent off on Friday, but it was not enough to save the Indomitable Lions from an early World Cup exit – or to prevent the Selecao from topping Group G.

Having seen Brazil secure a place in the round of 16 by beating Switzerland last time out, Tite made nine changes to his side, which resulted in a disjointed Selecao showing at the Lusail Stadium.

Devis Epassy kept Cameroon in the contest with several fine saves before Aboubakar nodded home a stoppage-time winner for Rigobert Song's men – and was promptly shown a second yellow card for removing his shirt.

However, the result was ultimately immaterial as Switzerland clung on to beat Serbia 3-2 in the group's other game, ensuring Brazil topped the pool and sealing Cameroon's elimination. 

Pele has moved to reassure people his recent hospital admission was just a "monthly visit".

The three-time World Cup winner, regarded among the greatest players of all time, has been receiving medical care at home in Brazil.

Pele underwent surgery to remove a tumour from his colon last year, and has been in and out of hospital since.

His daughter, Kely Nascimento, said on Wednesday there was "no surprise or emergency" over her father's hospitalisation after he was admitted earlier this week.

The 82-year-old was sent a message of support by the Brazil men's squad competing in Qatar at the World Cup.

Pele took to Instagram to show his gratitude for the support, sharing a picture of a building in Qatar with his image and the words "get well soon" lit up.

"Friends, I am at the hospital making my monthly visit," he wrote. "It's always nice to receive positive messages like this. Thanks to Qatar for this tribute, and to everyone who sends me good vibes."

Tite will rotate his Brazil squad for their final Group G match, but opponents Cameroon still face an uphill battle to make the last 16 of the World Cup.

Brazil are already through to the knockout stage and will top the pool unless they lose and Switzerland win with a significant goal swing.

Opponents Cameroon have plenty still to play for, on the other hand, as they must win to have any hope of reaching the second round for the first time since 1990.

They have never won their final group game at a finals, however, while Brazil are unbeaten at this stage in a record 17 matches.

And the Selecao have their own goals in mind, looking to take nine points from a possible nine for the first time since 2006.

"Being first is always the goal, regardless of who the opponent is in the next match," said Fabinho, one of the men set to come into the XI.

"Our focus is always to win the games, try to earn nine points and give our best. 

"Whoever will play will have the opportunity to wear the shirt of the Brazilian national team in a World Cup, so the thought of a winning team has to always be this, to enter, give the best, win and be the first."

 

Tite's first-choice stars have set a high standard, winning both games without conceding or even facing a single shot on target. They are the first team not to face a shot on target in their first two games at a World Cup since France in 1998.

"Personally, I don't think [maintaining the standard] brings pressure to us," added Fabinho. "I think playing in a World Cup is every player's dream. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

"We have to face this with great joy, knowing the responsibility, come in and give our best. We know the way the team plays, the team is solid defensively.

"Sure, you have the worries of keeping that, the ideas, but I don't think it adds pressure. We don't feel that."

Cameroon have lost only two World Cup matches to South American teams, but both have been in their two meetings with Brazil, who have won all seven of their finals clashes with African opposition, scoring 20 goals and conceding just two.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cameroon – Vincent Aboubakar

Aboubakar has twice appeared from the bench, yet he could hardly have done more to earn a starting berth. Against Serbia, he became the first substitute to both score and assist a goal in a World Cup match for an African nation, bringing Cameroon back from 3-1 down to 3-3 within 11 minutes of his introduction.

Brazil – Vinicius Junior

The Selecao may not need to risk playing Vinicius, with Neymar already injured, but it must be tough not to pick a man in this form. Only Kylian Mbappe (23) was involved in more open play sequences that ended with a shot than the winger (15) through two matchdays. Only Mbappe and Ismaila Sarr (four) created more chances following a carry (three).

PREDICTION

Even with the potential for changes in the Brazil XI, the supercomputer has no doubts about this one. Tite's men are massive 72.7 per cent favourites.

Cameroon must win but are given only a 10.6 per cent chance, with a draw that would confirm Brazil as group winners rated at 16.7 per cent.

Brazil star Neymar will be "back to his best" in time for the World Cup final, according to his father.

The Selecao have already qualified for the last 16 and only need a point to win their group after beating Switzerland and Serbia across their first two matches in Qatar.

However, Neymar suffered an ankle injury during the matchday-one victory over Serbia, ruling him out until the knockouts.

Brazil remain among the favourites to win the tournament despite Neymar's absence, which has a loose timeline.

But the forward – who is only two away from matching Pele's record haul of 77 goals for Brazil – will seemingly be back in plenty of time for the World Cup final, assuming Brazil make it that far, his father believes.

 

Speaking to talkSPORT through an interpreter, Neymar Sr said: "The most important thing is he can come back to the field and be at his best.

"When he was injured before and he came back again he was at his best. He will do his best.

"Everyone knows Neymar is very important, a great influence on the field and [on] all his colleagues. When Neymar is on the field it's totally different because he's number one. We know Neymar's importance to the group.

"I believe Neymar will be in the field again in the final match and he'll do his best to win the World Cup together with his colleagues in the Brazilian team.

"He'll do his best to help them and together win the competition."

Brazil face Cameroon in their final group game. They will meet the still undecided Group H runners-up if they do finish top.

The Selecao are aiming to win the tournament for the first time since 2002.

Brazil defender Dani Alves has no doubt over what he can offer to Tite's World Cup squad, despite being 39.

Former Barcelona and Juventus full-back Alves made the 26-man selection for Qatar, but is yet to feature at the tournament.

That seems set to change on Friday, with Tite set to ring the changes for Brazil's final Group G match against Cameroon, given the Selecao's place in the last 16 is already assured.

While acknowledging he is no longer at his peak, Alves – who made his Brazil debut in 2006 – is sure on just what he can bring to the team.

"[I'm] very proud to be able to be here," he said at a press conference.

"I have been doing so for many years with the squad, so to be able to wrap up this cycle by playing in the World Cup makes me very happy.

"When you work hard, dedicate yourself and go after what you want, you'll go places you would never have thought of. That's what life is giving me.

"All my 16 years on the squad, I have done my best for the team. Life always rewards the people who love what they do and do their very best on the mission.

"I am reaping what I have planted over those 16 years. It's normal that people question this because of my age or because I am not at my best, but at the World Cup it's not about being your best for a club, but having your best moment at the tournament.

"In the two matches that I wasn't present, our team needed a better defender in my position, I'm good as an attacker – that's a plan that we have established here, to know how the team plays and what will be demanded of a player.

"I am here to serve the team. If I have to play the drum, I will be the best drummer out there. 

"I know what I can do for the team and know there are other players at a better moment than I for what is requested. I know I can deliver, know what I can deliver.

"Trust is something you don't ask for, it's something you obtain. I have obtained the trust."

Tite believes Alves sets the prime example to the younger players in his squad.

"We represent people with a lot of love, a lot of pride, passion and dedication," Tite said.

"Dani is an example of that. He does everything with high quality. I greatly respect those who have got to where he has. He is much more than football, much more than a player on the pitch."

Two of the younger players Tite will be hoping are looking to emulate Alves are wingers Gabriel Martinelli and Antony, with both options to start against Cameroon.

Both players were featuring in Sao Paulo Youth Cup only three years ago, and Alves believes their success is proof hard work pays off.

"A few years ago they were playing a minor tournament and now they're at the World Cup," Alves said. "It shows their dedication, and shows how we need to mature quickly. They deserve to be here, that's their reward.

"We win when everybody plays at the same level, on and off the field. I think this is the most balanced team we have ever had."

Brazil will be without the injured Neymar and Danilo against Cameroon, though both have progressed to working in the swimming pool.

Should the Selecao win Group G, they will play against the runners-up of Group H on Monday in the last 16.

Pele is in the thoughts of Brazil's World Cup stars as he undergoes treatment in hospital, head coach Tite said on Thursday.

Three-time World Cup winner Pele, regarded among the greatest players of all time, is receiving medical care at home in Brazil.

The 82-year-old underwent surgery to remove a tumour from his colon last year, and has been in and out of hospital since.

His daughter, Kely Nascimento, has said there is "no surprise or emergency" over her father's hospitalisation after he was admitted this week.

Particularly coming at a time when a World Cup is taking place and he is not present, the news of Pele needing hospital attention has caused concern for many.

Tite read out a statement before taking questions at Brazil's press conference, saying: "We all wish a lot of health to Pele.

"We found out the news from the press. He’s the biggest representative of the national team and we wish him much health. That is the feeling of all the squad, we wish Pele the very best."

Pele's daughter said in her statement on Wednesday that "the media is freaking out again", adding that she planned to visit her father in the new year, with her brothers visiting at present.

 

As Brazil got their tournament under way last week, Pele sent the squad a message of good luck. He was a World Cup winner in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

He wrote on Instagram: "Today we start writing a new story. No matter the size and tradition of the opponents: we must respect and play each match with the focus of a final.

"It is important to play beautifully, yes, but it is also essential to leave everything on the pitch.

"Today, we will be more than 200 million hearts beating as one, vibrating with each achievement of our Selecao.

"I am sending all positive energies to you. I'm sure we'll have a happy ending. God bless you. Bring this trophy home!"

Brazil have begun their campaign with a 2-0 win over Serbia and a 1-0 success against Switzerland, rounding off their Group G campaign against Cameroon on Friday.

Luis Enrique insists Spain will not take any chances by trying to engineer a specific result against Japan in an attempt to avoid Brazil in the World Cup quarter-finals.

La Roja face Samurai Blue on Thursday knowing a victory will secure top spot in Group E and set up a last-16 clash with the runners-up from Group F.

But that would also put them on track to play the Selecao in the last eight.

Trying to avoid Brazil has been a topic of much debate during Spain's media duties in the past few days, and Luis Enrique even confessed to discussing the situation with his team.

But trying to manipulate a result that would see Spain finish second is far too risky for Luis Enrique's liking.

"Great question, we've wondered about this and reflected on it. From a professional point of view, we are only thinking of winning because the four teams can qualify," he said.

"We want to be first, we cannot and should not speculate. It's very human to talk about it, we have done it, but it's useless to choose.

"Imagine, we reach minute 95, we are drawing 0-0, we are winners of the group. But then just before full-time, Costa Rica and Japan score. You've speculated the entire game and then in the last 15 seconds you concede. That's it, you're out.

"If you're convinced your team is a good one [you try to win]. We're here to win seven games.

"Your theory is Brazil [in the quarter-finals]. Let's play Brazil. We can't start with these estimations.

"We try to put up a fight – it doesn't matter who we're playing in the round of 16 or quarter-finals.

"If we play Brazil in the quarters, well so be it… We must beat Japan – elite sport and speculation don't compute, or we don't understand it that way. Being first would mean that we have been better.

"To win a World Cup you have to win against everyone who comes your way. That's our goal."

In fact, Luis Enrique went on to suggest he would welcome facing Brazil in the quarter-finals, even if it meant a trickier route to the final for La Roja.

"I hope to play against Brazil. It will mean that we have both reached the quarter-finals," he continued.

"Brazil is always a clear favourite [for the World Cup], regardless of the year. They have so much talent and quality, both individually and collectively.

"As for everyone else [the favourites], there aren't big surprises. I always stick to the FIFA rankings, you can see which are the favourites. You look at the top 10, some aren't here but generally those are the favourites. Brazil, France won [their groups] easily, so there's no surprises."

Spain have generally impressed across their first two games with their vibrant and attack-minded style of play, with many considering them early favourites despite possessing one of the youngest squads.

But one of their young talents who is yet to make an appearance is Ansu Fati, who some felt was fortunate to even be named in the squad after only playing bit-part role for Barcelona this season on his return from injury.

Luis Enrique acknowledged Fati was the most uncertain selection in the group, but he stressed he was thrilled with the training level of all of his forwards.

"He was the last player to enter the list. He wasn't even in the squad in the previous two international breaks. It might be the position where I had the most doubts, regarding bringing Ansu or another player.

"I have to base my decisions on training. We have eight forwards training so well, I am delighted with them, they are flying. It's a shame they've not all had minutes, they all deserve to play and it hurts me, but there's no space for everyone – some will not play.

"There's five substitutes allowed, and some players will end the competition without playing a minute. I'm sorry about that, so sorry, but they have to keep training at a top level and I make decisions based on what I see. I am sorry, but also happy with what I see from those eight players."

Neymar has been ruled out of Brazil's final World Cup group match against Cameroon, while Alex Sandro has joined the superstar forward and Danilo on the injury list.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar hobbled off in the 80th minute of Brazil's 2-0 win over Serbia last week with a lateral ligament injury to his right ankle.

The 30-year-old sat out Monday's victory over Switzerland, in which Casemiro scored a late winner, but no official timeframe was given for his recovery.

However, team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed on Tuesday that Neymar will play no part against Cameroon, with Brazil requiring a point to guarantee top spot in Group G.

Team-mate Danilo, who has a similar ankle problem to Neymar, will also not recover in time for Friday's match at Lusail Stadium, while Alex Sandro is suffering from a hip injury.

"After yesterday's game, Alex Sandro felt pain in his left hip and was unable to continue in the game," Lasmar said. 

"This morning he was reassessed. We took him for an MRI test, which showed a muscle injury in the left hip muscle. The player will not be able to participate in the next match.

"But he is still undergoing treatment so that we can recover him as soon as possible. 

"Danilo and Neymar are still recovering from ankle injuries. Each with a different treatment because they are different injuries."

 

Neymar was fouled nine times by Serbia players, which is one shy of Brazil's World Cup record of 10 set against Switzerland in 2018.

He was fouled a leading 44 times across the 2014 and 2018 World Cups combined – once every 21 minutes, more often than any other player impeded on at least 25 occasions.

With their victory over Switzerland, Brazil became the first side in World Cup history to go unbeaten in 17 consecutive group-stage matches in a run stretching back to 1998.

France, Brazil and Portugal are the only sides to have already secured World Cup knockout football, with numerous teams facing a nervy final matchday as they bid to reach the round of 16 in Qatar.

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil breezed through Group G with wins over Serbia and Switzerland, while France became the first reigning world champions to escape the group stage since the Selecao in 2006.

Portugal made sure of their round-of-16 spot after Monday's Group H victory over Uruguay, yet the likes of England, Spain, Germany and Argentina all need results on matchday three to progress.

The Netherlands are another big name that have yet to confirm their place in the latter stages of FIFA's top tournament, while Belgium face a tense Group F clash with Croatia to avoid an early exit.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the permutations riding on the final selection of group-stage action in the Middle East.

Group A

The Netherlands are largely in control of Group A, needing to just avoid defeat against the already eliminated hosts, Qatar.

Louis van Gaal's side will also reach the round of 16 if Ecuador beat Senegal, who have to win otherwise Aliou Cisse's side will rely on a somewhat unlikely win for Qatar over the Netherlands to remain in contention.

Ecuador, who have impressed in their first two games, must win or draw against Senegal to progress. However, Gustavo Alfaro's men could go through in defeat if Qatar beat the Netherlands.

Group B

A win or a draw is enough for England against fierce rivals Wales. Yet, the Three Lions would still progress as long as they avoid a four-goal defeat against Wales, whose goal difference is six fewer.

Iran are guaranteed to qualify with victory over the United States, who know anything other than a win against Carlos Queiroz's side will see them eliminated from the competition.

Quieroz's men could still escape Group B with a draw, though goal difference would come into play if Wales pick up their first win at the tournament against Gareth Southgate's England.

Group C

All four teams can still make it out of an enticing Group C, with Argentina – who were among the pre-tournament favourites – needing to beat Poland to guarantee a round-of-16 place.

La Albiceleste could progress with a draw, however, and would be through in that instance if Mexico and Saudi Arabia also share the spoils.

Yet, if Lionel Scaloni's men are held and Herve Renard's men beat El Tri, Argentina will be eliminated. If Mexico win and Argentina draw, it goes to goal difference.

Poland would go through by avoiding defeat, but would be knocked out by a loss coupled with a Saudi Arabia victory over Mexico, who must win to have any chance of remaining in the tournament.

If Poland lose and Saudi Arabia draw, the two teams will have to be separated by goal difference, which will also be used if Czeslaw Michniewicz's side are defeated and Mexico win.

Group D

France are already in the round-of-16 draw and will top Group D as long as they do not lose to Tunisia and Australia do not defeat Denmark, otherwise the Socceroos would move level on six points with Les Bleus.

While victory would take Australia through, Graham Arnold's side would still reach the knockout stage with a draw unless Tunisia beat France, which would see Jalel Kadri's men progress on goal difference.

Denmark would grab qualification with a win over Australia unless Tunisia triumph over France, which would leave goal difference or goals scored to separate the Carthage Eagles and Kasper Hjulmand's men.

Group E

Spain are the favourites to progress from Group E, requiring a win or draw against Japan. Defeat would see Luis Enrique's side still go through on goal difference, unless Germany lose to Costa Rica.

Germany must pick up three points to stay in contention and would qualify as long as Spain defeat Japan, though a draw in the latter game or a win for Hajime Moriyasu's men would see goal difference needed.

A win for Japan over Spain would take Moriyasu's side through, while a draw – coupled with a stalemate for Germany – would also see the Samurai Blue make the knockout stage.

Costa Rica would earn a last-16 spot with victory and a point would also take them through if Spain overcome Japan. A draw in both games or a defeat for Fernando Suarez's side sees them eliminated.

Group F

Croatia will pass through Group F if they avoid defeat against Belgium, who require victory against the 2018 runners-up to guarantee a place in the round of 16.

Such a win for Belgium would leave Croatia needing already eliminated Canada to overcome Morocco, with goal difference coming into play to separate Zlatko Dalic's side from the Atlas Lions.

A draw is likely not enough for Belgium. They would need Morocco to lose to Canada and then rely on goal difference, though Walid Regragui's men (+2) hold the advantage over Roberto Martinez's side (-1) in the decisive metric.

Morocco would progress with victory over Canada, while a defeat would see Regragui's side reliant on Belgium beating Croatia for goal difference to be decisive between Dalic's men and the Atlas Lions for second.

Group G

Brazil have secured knockout football and will finish as Group G winners with anything other than defeat against Cameroon, who need victory against Tite's side and results to go their way to make the last 16.

Rigobert Song's men would be eliminated if they do not win, though victory is not guaranteed to secure progression as Switzerland could play out a high-scoring draw with Serbia to go through on goals scored, which is used if sides cannot be separated on goal difference – Cameroon are currently on -1 and Switzerland level in the latter metric.

The somewhat expected scenario of Cameroon losing to Brazil would see Serbia and Switzerland become a winner-takes-all clash. 

Dragan Stojkovic's side need victory to progress in that instance, while a draw would be enough for Switzerland. Goal difference would be required if Serbia (-2) and Cameroon (-1) both win their final encounters.

Group H

Portugal are already through and would top Group H by avoiding defeat against South Korea, who could still make a late charge for the round-of-16 stage should the result between Uruguay and Ghana go their way.

The permutations are straightforward for Uruguay and South Korea, who must win to avoid elimination, though qualification is not assured even with victory.

Both teams would be level on four points with victories, again leading to goal difference to separate. Yet, if Ghana beat Uruguay then South Korea's result against Portugal will prove irrelevant for Paulo Bento's side.

A draw for Ghana and a win for South Korea would also see goal difference required to split the two sides, with Bento's men trailing the Black Stars by one in that metric, which could mean goals scored comes into it.

Casemiro believes Brazil are in a much stronger position at the Qatar World Cup than they were in Russia in 2018.

Manchester United midfielder Casemiro lashed home an 83rd-minute winner against Switzerland on Monday, ensuring Brazil's progress from Group G.

Up to that point at Stadium 974, Brazil – shorn of the injured Neymar – had been frustrated in their attempts to break the deadlock, and looked set to be heading for a third World Cup draw against the Swiss, who they had not previously beaten in the competition.

Brazil are the first side in World Cup history to go unbeaten in 17 consecutive group stage matches (including final and second group rounds in earlier editions), though it is the first time since 2010 that the Selecao have won their opening two matches at the tournament. 

Having reached the quarter-finals in Russia before going out to Belgium, Brazil are the favourites to triumph in Qatar, and Casemiro has no doubt the squad is stronger than it was at the last World Cup.

"Four years have gone by, there are new players, this year we have a wider range of options, we have more to choose from, without even changing the team we can change the way we play," Casemiro said in a post-match press conference.

"If we substitute players we have even more options. There's no doubt the options are much greater than those in 2018. Not only because time has gone on and we are mature.

"We have defenders who are more experienced, we've had another match without conceding. It's not Alisson, it's not the defence, it starts up front with Richarlison.

"The range of options is much greater than at the last World Cup."

Casemiro's sentiment was echoed by coach Tite, who claimed the real victor of Brazil's success on Monday was the "process" of developing a younger squad.

"There's a wide range of options because there's a four-year period of developing this," Tite said.

"What won today was this four years, and them being able to develop in a natural way, despite being young.

"If that weren't the case, it would be very difficult. Who won today? This process, this development. That was the cherry on the cake."

Brazil need just a point from their final Group G game against Cameroon to seal top spot, and a match against the runners-up of Group H, which includes Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea, in the last 16.

It is unclear if Neymar, who sustained an ankle injury in last week's win over Serbia, will be fit to feature against Cameroon, but Tite was buoyed that Brazil got the job done without their talisman.

Asked if Brazil missed Neymar's influence, Tite said: "Obviously, Neymar has different skills, he is a player who can make a magical moment.

"Other players are still getting to that level, and I hope they get there. So yes, we do miss Neymar, he has a great creative power, so we miss him, but we see that there are players that can take the opportunity. Let's enjoy this win."

Neymar has lauded Casemiro as "the best midfielder in the world" after the latter fired Brazil into the knockout rounds of the World Cup against Switzerland.

After picking up an ankle injury in the Selecao's opening Group G match, the Paris Saint-Germain attacker was forced to watch his team's second match from their hotel.

In a cagey encounter, it was the Manchester United midfielder's late strike that earned Brazil a 1-0 win, and Neymar was succinctly effusive in his praise for his team-mate after the final whistle.

"Casemiro has been the best midfielder in the world for a long time," the forward simply wrote on Twitter after the match.

Having left it late to seal victory - his 83rd-minute goal was the second-latest winner for Brazil in a World Cup match, after beating Costa Rica in 2018 - Casemiro's intervention proved crucial for Tite's side.

When asked by Stats Perform in his post-match press conference on whether he agreed with Neymar, Tite replied: "As a habit, I always respect opinions, but do not comment on them.

"But I will allow myself to do so today. I agree."

Explaining why he elected to play the 30-year-old in a deeper position, he added: "Casemiro is a second midfielder, that’s what we saw happen.

"He works as a central player, he’s a surprise element from the back. If Casemiro is already high, it's easy to be marked, but when he comes from the back he can be a surprise."

Brazil wrap up their Group G campaign against Cameroon on December 2.

A late Casemiro strike saw Brazil book their passage through to the knockout stage of the World Cup as they snatched a 1-0 victory over Switzerland at Stadium 974.

Having lost star forward Neymar to injury during their opening win against Serbia, the Selecao had been forced into a tactical reshuffle for their second match at Qatar 2022.

But despite a front three of Vinicius Junior, Richarlison and Raphinha, Tite's side ultimately needed veteran midfielder Casemiro to see them through without their talisman in a tight Group G encounter.

Victory in Doha means Brazil join defending champions France in the last 16, though defeat for Switzerland still leaves them in second place, with their fate in their own hands.

Operating with a wide offensive approach, Brazil had frequently harried their opponents but seldom left Yann Sommer seriously troubled between the posts before the interval.

An increase in tempo after the break brought sharper opportunities, with Breel Embolo tormenting Alisson after a blocked clearance and Richarlison agonisingly close to a looping Vinicius ball.

The latter looked to have put Brazil on top after a Swiss defensive lapse just after the hour mark, only for VAR to chalk his neat finish off for a contentious offside call against team-mate Richarlison.

But Casemiro struck late on, catching a Rodrygo ball on the half-volley to leave a bulging mark in the net and keep the Selecao on course in their pursuit of a first World Cup triumph for two decades.

Kaka believes Brazil can "still perform very well" at the 2022 World Cup, despite the injured Neymar's absence.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar limped off in the 80th minute of Brazil's 2-0 win over Serbia, having been subjected to nine fouls – more than any other player during the opening round of group games in Qatar.

The 30-year-old suffered what has been described as a lateral ligament injury to his right ankle, while he shared an update on his official Instagram account on Saturday, including photos of his heavily swollen foot.

Kaka was part of a heavily fancied Brazil side at the 2006 World Cup. But despite also boasting the likes of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Adriano, the Selecao failed to live up to expectations and bowed out in the quarter-finals following a 1-0 defeat by France.

 

But 16 years on, the former Milan and Real Madrid midfielder is confident his nation have the credentials to go far, even with Neymar on the sidelines.

"I think now, what we can see from [Brazil], is they have a very strong group," he said. "Of course, Neymar is the cherry on the cake, but they still have a very strong group.

"In the World Cup, you need a strong group - you don't need some [individual] players, you need a very strong group. And in my opinion, this is why Brazil can still perform very well."

Since making his World Cup debut against Croatia in 2014, Neymar has featured in 11 of Brazil's 13 matches at the finals. The Selecao's only defeat with him in the side came in the 2018 quarter-final loss to Belgium.

Without him, Brazil lost both matches when he was absent eight years ago after sustaining a horrific back injury against Colombia; suffering a 7-1 semi-final humiliation against Germany, before going down 3-0 to the Netherlands in the third-place play-off.

Page 1 of 21
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.