Sochi, June 20 (AP/UNB) — Brazil is making sure everyone knows Neymar is perfectly fit at the World Cup
A day after he limped out of training and raised further doubts about his physical condition in Russia, the Brazilian soccer federation was quick to tell the world the team's biggest star was just fine.
Brazil had a closed practice session Wednesday, two days before its game against Costa Rica in St. Petersburg, but the federation posted photos and a video of Neymar in action in training with the rest of the squad.
"Brazil practicing and Neymar participating normally in the team's activity," the federation said in a Twitter post.
One of the photos showed the playmaker touching the ball with his injured right ankle.
"Take a look at Neymar practicing in Sochi!" read the post linking to the video which showed the playmaker training without any sign of a limp.
The images showed him exchanging passes and making challenges. In a longer version of the video sent to journalists, Neymar took free kicks.
"Neymar practiced the whole time," the federation later said on its website. "He showed confidence and participated actively during the whole session."
Brazilian media had already been speculating that Brazil could be hiding Neymar's real condition after he couldn't finish practice on Tuesday. He was visibly in pain as he walked from the field accompanied by the team's doctor.
He had been playing keep-away with a few other players when he started showing signs of discomfort, and at one point bent down and grabbed his ankle. He tried to continue playing but a few moments later decided to leave, kicking a ball away with his left foot before limping away.
The federation said he left the session only as a precaution because he had been in pain since the team's 1-1 draw against Switzerland on Sunday, when he was consistently fouled. It had already guaranteed after the match there was nothing wrong with Neymar even though he was limping when he talked to reporters. It had already confirmed he would be available to play against Costa Rica.
According to Brazil, Neymar's ankle problem had nothing to do with the foot injury that sidelined him for about three months earlier this year, prompting concerns about his fitness heading into Russia. Brazil coach Tite said before the tournament started that Neymar wouldn't likely be fully fit until the third match of the group stage.
He was heavily marked and struggled against Switzerland, which fouled him 10 times in the match in Rostov-on-Don.
The draw left Brazil and Switzerland two points behind group leader Serbia, which defeated Costa Rica in its opener. Anything but victory could leave Brazil, one of the main title favorites in Russia, in a difficult position to advance from the group stage.
St. Petersburg, Jun 21 (AP/UNB) — Egypt arrived in Russia with Mohamed Salah and some high expectations.
The team, playing at the World Cup for the first time since 1990, was sure it had the ability to grind out results, even with Salah still recovering from a shoulder injury. But after two matches, the Egyptians were eliminated.
"I always say that behind a player there must be a team," Egypt coach Hector Cuper said after Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Russia. "I feel proud we had a team, but perhaps we weren't decisive enough."
Salah was hurt last month in the Champions League final. He dressed for the opening match, but sat on the bench as Egypt held Uruguay scoreless for 89 minutes.
Eventually, however, Uruguay scored and won.
Salah started the second match against Russia and even scored from the penalty spot, but the host nation also proved to be too much.
Those two losses combined with wins for both Russia and Uruguay over Saudi Arabia confirmed the team's elimination despite one final Group A match on Monday.
Most of the expectation, and pretty much all of the hype, had been placed on the shoulders of the 26-year-old Salah, who scored 44 goals in 51 games for Liverpool and was named Premier League player of the year.
But he clearly lacked match fitness in his World Cup debut, only showing a few glimpses of the speed and marksmanship he has displayed over the last year. Still, he was by far the most dangerous of Egypt's forward trio even if he was missing the kind of service he normally receives at Liverpool.
Cuper said Salah had not undergone the intense training his teammates had in the three weeks prior to the World Cup. He missed warm-up matches against Kuwait, Colombia and Belgium.
Salah apart, Egypt typically gave the ball away too easily, didn't threaten and made defensive blunders that belied the solid reputation of a back four led by West Bromwich Albion defender Ahmed Hegazy.
Egypt's run to the World Cup, and the sensational exploits of Salah in both the shirt of the national team and Liverpool, raised the level of soccer madness back at home recently.
The results in Russia have divided the millions of fans in Egypt who have been captivated by the squad since qualification in October, with one side being harshly critical while others resign themselves to the limitations of the team.
News of the loss to Russia made the front page of every Cairo daily, but the tone varied.
Careful not to allow the result to deepen popular discontent over a recent wave of steep price hikes for fuel, drinking water and electricity, the staunchly pro-government Al-Youm Al-Sabae, or Seventh Day, ran the headline: "You have done us proud."
But the independent Al-Shorouk said the team was "clinically" out of the tournament.
Sports commentators and social media users, whose views are often more reflective of the mood on the streets, blamed Cuper's tactics, his selection of players and a large group of wealthy businessmen, actors and TV personalities who they accuse of distracting the players the day before the game against Russia by staying at the team's hotel in St. Petersburg.
"Who allowed this chaos at the squad's hotel?" said Ibrahim Fayeq, a sports anchor at a private TV channel. "And who convinced these celebrities that their presence was so essential for Egypt to win?"
Dhaka, Jun 20 (UNB) - Argentine superstar Lionel Messi on Tuesday shared a video that included Bangladeshi fans expressing their support for Argentina in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The video was shared on his official Facebook page which contained several moments where Bangladeshi fans showed their utmost support for the two-time World Cup winning team.
The video lasted for one minute and five second and the caption said, “Discover the most original support messages for Leo in Russia 2018 and choose your favorite!”
The video was largely made to pick the best support for Argentina and Lionel Messi from the supporters.
Argentina started their World Cup mission on a poor note with a 1-1 draw against Iceland on Saturday and they will play against Croatia in their second Group D match on Friday at 12:00 am.