Brazil take on Argentina on Tuesday evening but are without a number of key players for the World Cup qualifier.
Fernando Diniz’s side have suffered a series of fitness issues in recent months, culminating with an injury to Vinicius Junior in last week’s 2-1 defeat to Colombia. The Real Madrid forward was substituted just 26 minutes into the game after sustaining a thigh injury.
Vinicius has returned to Madrid to begin his rehabilitation from the injury, which could keep him sidelined for two and a half months. The LaLiga club released a statement confirming that the Brazilian had sustained “a tear in the biceps femoris in his left leg”.
Why isn’t Neymar playing for Brazil?
Many were hoping that Vinicius would be able to fill the attacking void left by Brazilian icon Neymar, who is currently recovering from a long-term injury. The 31-year-old suffered a serious knee injury in October’s World Cup qualifying loss to Uruguay.
Earlier this month Neymar received surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament and address meniscus injuries in his left knee. Brazilian national team doctor Rodrgio Lasmar said that the player is “recovering very well” from surgery but the rehabilitation process will be a long one.
Lasmar explained: “It’s a complex injury, he ruptured a ligament and needs to be off his feet for a while. Due to the associated injuries, he will go through a lengthy rehabilitation process, he is aware of that.”
As it stands, the most positive outlook for Neymar is that he will return in time to feature in the 2024 Copa America. The tournament will be held in the United States from 20 June to 14 July.
Why isn’t Casemiro playing for Brazil?
Diniz is also without midfielder Casemiro for Tuesday’s game against Argentina. The Manchester United star picked up a hamstring strain in a Carabao Cup defeat to Newcastle United earlier this month and was not called up for the Brazil squad.
Casemiro’s fitness has been a problem for United boss Erik ten Hag this season. The 31-year-old had sat out the team’s three previous fixtures before returning to the side against Newcastle. He was substituted at half time and looks unlikely to feature before December.
Casemiro’s absence leaves Diniz with a difficult decision to make on Tuesday. He opted to start young midfielder André alongside Bruno Guimarães in their last outing against Colombia, but may be tempted to bring in either Douglas Luiz or Joelinton for the Argentina game.