Brazil blow as Gabriel Jesus and Alex Telles are ruled out of World Cup

The Guardian
The Guardian
Gabriel Jesus has played his last game for Brazil in Qatar after picking up an injury against Cameroon.

Brazil’s Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus and the defender Alex Telles have both been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup after picking up injuries in their final Group G game against Cameroon.

Telles was substituted in the 54th minute of Brazil’s 1-0 defeat by the African side, with Jesus leaving the pitch 10 minutes later. Brazil face South Korea in the last 16 on Monday.

The starting full-backs Danilo and Alex Sandro are out after injuries suffered earlier in the competition and their availability is still unclear, while Neymar is still recovering from an ankle injury incurred in their opening win against Serbia.

Richarlison says Brazil can win the World Cup even if Neymar does not return, though he believes the forward will be fit to face South Korea.

Neymar’s ankle injury meant he was again absent as Brazil lost 1-0 to Cameroon in Friday’s final group game. Yet while Richarlison wants the nation’s second highest-ever scorer, with 75 goals, to be available he is adamant Brazil can claim a sixth championship even if he is absent.

“With or without Neymar, Brazil is Brazil. We’re here to win the World Cup. We will give all our sweat and hard work to win our remaining games,” Richarlison said. “I believe he should be ready for the next game, today [Friday] he trained with us at the training ground. I hope he will be back for the round of 16 because that will be better for me and for the team.”

The 25-year-old Tottenham forward has two goals in the race to be crowned the tournament’s golden boot winner. “I am going to work towards that. I’d like to but it depends on the whole team. I will work hard for it but the main thing is what we do as a group rather than as individuals,” he said.

In Sunday’s match Richarlison will face his club-mate Son Heung-min, having scored against South Korea in June’s 5-1 friendly win. “He’s my friend, we play together at Spurs. Two months ago we played them in a friendly in Korea and I know all about their quality,” said Richarlison. “Its going to be a hard game, it’s the World Cup. We are going to have to concentrate to make sure we win the match.”

Richarlison did not feature in the loss to Cameroon. The coach, Tite, made nine changes, the reverse being the first time Brazil had ever been defeated by an African nation, but Richarlison believes the squad will benefit from the move.

“It’s really important for the many players who have not played in a World Cup [so far] to get experience, especially of playing for the first time. To get the taste of being at this tournament. This way, if we need them during matches they are ready.”

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