FIFA World Cup

Returning Neymar to spearhead challenge as Brazil name shortlisted 23-member World Cup squad

The star striker has been out since requiring surgery for a broken bone in his foot while playing for PSG, and is only now easing back into training.

Striker Neymar, who hasn’t played since injury in February, was named on Monday as the star of a Brazilian team that coach Tite said has a good chance of winning the World Cup in Russia.

“Brazil is one of the favorites given the football it has shown, given its consistency,” Tite said at the team announcement in Rio de Janeiro.

He said the national team, seeking a record sixth World Cup, stands out for being “aggressive, scoring goals.”

“That’s not being arrogant, it’s just telling the truth,” Tite said.

Neymar’s return to form will be a key factor. He has been out since requiring surgery for a broken bone in his foot while playing for Paris Saint-Germain, and is only now easing back into training.

Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said he was hopeful, with the bone’s healing making “excellent progress.”

Neymar should be able to “regain match fitness” when he takes part in friendlies against Croatia on June 3 and Austria on June 10, Lasmar said.

Brazil will need him showing all the skills that made him the world’s most expensive footballer, with a record 222 million euros ($264 million) transfer from Barcelona to PSG last August.

“We will be a good deal stronger with Neymar. He’s one of the three best players in the world, but for him to be at his peak he needs a solid team around him,” Tite said.

Last week, the team suffered the loss of influential right-back Dani Alves to a knee injury.

In Tite’s 23-man squad Alves place has been comfortably covered by the presence of two men of similar abilities in Danilo of Manchester City and Fagner, whom Tite knows from his time at the helm of Corinthians’ 2015 national championship-winning team.

Fagner is currently carrying an injury of his own but has been cleared by Lasmar to play in Russia.

Tite praised PSG’s Alves for his “enormous heart, his exemplary courage,” but said the player’s disappointment had to be set aside.

“We can’t cry over those who are absent. We have to concentrate on preparing,” Tite said.

After sweeping aside South American opponents in the World Cup qualifiers, Brazil are seen as one of the strongest sides at the World Cup.

The ‘Selecao’s’ current winning ways return the team to the vibe it enjoyed for decades until a slack period that reached a nadir during Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup, when the national side crashed out of the semi-finals 7-1 to Germany.

Brazil’s hugely unpopular president, Michel Temer, tweeted his support after the team announcement.

“With all due respect to our Russian hosts and friends, and with humility, please bring the trophy home,” he said.

Their campaign begins against Switzerland on June 17.

Brazil squad

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma/ITA), Cassio (Corinthians/BRA), Ederson (Man City/ENG),

Defenders: Danilo (Man City/ENG), Fagner (Corinthians), Marcelo (Real Madrid/ESP), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Miranda (Inter Milan/ITA), Marquinhos (PSG/FRA), Thiago Silva (PSG/FRA), Geromel (Gremio)

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid/ESP), Fernandinho (Man City/ENG), Paulinho (Barcelona/ESP), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan/CHN), Fred (Shakhtar Donestk/UKR), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona/ESP), Willian (Chelsea/ENG)

Forwards: Neymar (PSG/FRA), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City/ENG), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool/ENG), Douglas Costa (Juventus/ITA), Taison (Shakhtar Donestk/UKR)

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

The qualities of a high-performance luxury sedan

A lesson in harnessing tremendous power to deliver high performance.

Gone are the days when the rich and successful would network during a round of golf, at least in the Silicon Valley. As reported by New York Times, ‘auto-racing has become a favourite hobby for the tech elites’. However, getting together on a race track would require a machine that provides control while testing extreme limits. Enter the Mercedes-AMG range of cars.

Mercedes-AMG’s rise from a racing outfit to a manufacturer of peak performance cars is dotted with innovations that have pushed the boundaries of engineering. While the AMG series promises a smooth driving experience, its core is made up of a passion for motorsports and a spirit that can be summarized in two words – power and performance. These integral traits draw like-minded people who share and express Mercedes-AMG’s style of performance.

The cars we drive say a lot about us, it’s been said. There are several qualities of an AMG performance luxury sedan that overlap with the qualities of its distinguished owner. For instance, creating an impression comes naturally to both, so does the ambition to always deliver an exceptional performance. However, the strongest feature is that both the owner and the AMG marque continually challenge themselves in pursuit of new goals, stretching the limits of performance.

This winning quality comes alive, especially, in the latest Mercedes-AMG marque – the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+. With the most powerful engine to have ever been installed in an E-class, this undisputed performance sedan promises immense power at the driver’s command. With 612 HP under its hood, the car achieves 0-100 km/h in just a few seconds - 3.4 to be precise. Moreover, the car comes with the latest driver-assistance technology that promises intelligent control and provides an agile and responsive ride.

But, the new AMG is not just about work (or traction in car lingo). One of its core features is to provide its owners a challenge on the race track. Its drift mode, which converts the vehicle into a pure rear-wheel drive, offers pure exhilaration and adds a work-play dynamic to the car. In that sense, the new AMG is a collaborator of sorts - one that partners with its owner to create an impression through performance. And on the weekends, the car pushes him/her to express absolute power using its race mode with a thunderous roar of the engine - the pure sound of adrenalin. This balance between work and play has been achieved using cutting-edge features in the car that together create an almost intuitive driver-machine relationship.

If you’re looking for a car that shares your enthusiasm for driving, you’ll find a partner in the new AMG. However, buying an AMG is not just about owning a powerhouse on wheels, it’s also about adopting a driving philosophy in which power is just the starting point - the main skill lies in how you manoeuvre that power on the road. A performance sedan in its sportiest form, Mercedes-AMG’s latest model takes vehicle performance to an unmatched level. A decade ago, this amount of speed and power in a luxury 4-door model would be un-thinkable.

Play

The new Mercedes-AMG comes with a host of individualisation options through designo, the artistic side of Mercedes’s innovation, so the car becomes an extension of the owner’s distinctive personality. An expressive design with a new radiator grille and a muscular front apron showcase its athleticism. A new-age driver environment, widescreen cockpit, the AMG performance steering wheel and sports seat delivers an intensive driving experience. With the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+, AMG has created an undisputed performance sedan that can rip the race track as well as provide reliable luxury sedan-duty. To know more about the most powerful E-class of all time, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Mercedes-Benz and not by the Scroll editorial team.