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Silva: Brazil have ‘better Neymar’ than at previous World Cups

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Silva: Brazil have ‘better Neymar’ than at previous World Cups

The PSG star will once again be the centre of attention as Brazil get their campaign underway in Qatar on Thursday, taking on Serbia before matches against Switzerland and Cameroon.

Neymar scored four goals on home soild at the 2014 World Cup, including two against Cameroon, before he then missed the infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals with injury.

Four years ago in Russia he scored twice, before Brazil were knocked out by Belgium in the quarter-finals. It’s now 20 years since they last won the World Cup.

Should that wait come to an end in Qatar then Neymar will likely play a significant role, with the 30-year-old looking close to his very best at club level. He has 11 goals and nine assists for PSG in 13 Ligue 1 appearances this season.

Silva is confident that Neymar has both the form and the fitness to star for Brazil over the next few weeks.

“I think Neymar is coming into this competition in great form,” Silva said.

“His preparation this time has been different. In 2014 he got injured just as he was playing so well, and in 2018 he came into the tournament in a different way because he had a serious injury so hadn’t played much.

“Now with a different preparation, without any injury and any worry, we see a better Neymar.”

Brazil went into the tournament as favourites and that has not changed after the first days of action, with well-fancied Argentina falling to a shock defeat against Saudi Arabia and Germany stunned by Japan.

Tite’s side are expected to come through Group G with minimal fuss, though Serbia are potential dark horses in the tournament and certainly have the quality in forward areas to test Brazil in their opening group-stage encounter.

“We know that it is a fierce competition and we needed to be ready, first of all for the first match,” Silva said.

“We all know the importance that the first match has to deal with our nerves and in that sense, we are confident that we will have a good performance.

“We truly believe in everything we have done up to today and are about to make our first appearance in the World Cup in a very favourable position, in the sense of being well in all ways.

“What I can tell the Brazil fans is please believe in us – rest assured that we are ready to do a great World Cup. It is obvious the title is still very far away, but we can dream on and that is what we do every day.”

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