FC Barcelona’s dynamic South American duo — Neymar and Luis Suarez — are set to battle each other in Matchday 5 of the CONMEBOL 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
Uruguayan hitman Luis Suarez, who was given a nine-match international ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 World Cup, makes his much-awaited return for the national side. Uruguay are currently second in the South American qualifying table after registering 3 wins and 1 loss from their opening four matches.
A win against Brazil will take them to within a point of leaders Ecuador, who drew 2-2 against Paraguay last night.
Thiago Silva, Marcelo dropped; Godin misses out due to injury
Brazil were given an almighty scare a few days ago when their talisman Neymar was taken to a hospital in Teresopolis for muscle soreness. However, according to a statement released by the Brazil Football Federation, Neymar is fit to start for the Selecao on Friday night against Uruguay.
“Neymar had some muscle soreness and told the Selecao doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, who brought him to the medical centre in Teresopolis,” read the statement. “With the assistance of Rodrigo Lasmar, Neymar underwent some tests that have not shown any injury. The attacker can continue to train normally on Wednesday and Thursday and will be fit on Friday against Uruguay.”
In other news, former Brazilian captain Thiago Silva has been banished from the national side by coach Dunga. Silva made his last appearance for Brazil during last year’s Copa America quarter-final defeat to Paraguay. Real Madrid left-back Marcelo is another national team veteran who has been dropped by Dunga for the qualifiers against Uruguay and Paraguay this week.
Liverpool midfielder Roberto Firmino, who got injured during his club’s 3-2 defeat to Southampton last Sunday, has been replaced by Benfica’s in-form striker Jonas in the Brazilian squad.
Uruguay were dealt a major blow when it was revealed that their talismanic captain Diego Godin will miss his country’s twin qualifiers due to injury. Godin picked up the knock during Atletico Madrid’s shock 2-1 defeat to relegation candidates Sporting Gijon last weekend.
Godin’s Atletico Madrid teammate Jose Maria Gimenez also picked up a hamstring injury against Gijon and will miss out against Brazil on Friday, while right-back Maximiliano Pereira is suspended.