Neymar Jr image leaves football fans 'broken' at FIFA World Cup

Neymar Jr. (pictured left) limping off the field with a swollen ankle and (pictured right) Neymar in tears.
Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr. limped off the field with a swollen ankle and was in tears during the 2-0 win over Serbia at the FIFA World Cup. (Getty Images)

An image of Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr. has left his nation in shock after he limped off the field with a swollen ankle in the 2-0 win over Serbia at the FIFA World Cup. Brazil opened their FIFA World Cup in Qatar with a solid performance after striker Richarlison scored twice including a spectacular swivelling volley to get his nation's quest for a sixth World Cup title off to a perfect start.

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The Tottenham Hotspur forward has been in fine form when wearing the golden yellow kit of Brazil this year and opened the scoring with an easy tap-in before doubling the lead with his acrobatic effort. Tite's decision to go with four forwards - Neymar, Vinicius Jr., Raphinha and Richarlison - in his attacking lineup paid off handsomely as the South Americans dominated the match and made Serbia work hard every time they went forward.

However, Brazil and football fans were left stunned when talisman Neymar's ankle was caught under a sliding challenge. The national icon limped off the field and took his boot off, which allowed cameras to pick up the extent of the injury.

And images showed Neymar's ankle immediately swollen. Brazil's second-highest ever goal scorer was captured distraught on the bench, before limping down the tunnel.

Early reports suggested a sprained ankle for the Brazilian, which could see him miss the remainder of the group stage and potentially the rest of the tournament. The football world was quick to rally around the Brazilian after he was also injured at the 2014 World Cup in his home nation after a back injury.

Brazil sizzle against Serbia at World Cup

While it took some time for Brazil to crack a stoic Serbian defence, the dynamic attacking unit shone.Vinicius used his acceleration to good effect to constantly beat his man while Neymar, playing in a free role, often found pockets of space, but a well-drilled Serbian defence kept Brazil at bay in the first half.

Serbia had been sweating over the fitness of their all-time top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic but coach Dragan Stojkovic named him in the starting team. Unlike Brazil's forward line, however, which threatened from all sides, the Fulham striker found himself isolated up front with little service.

Richarlison (pictured right) scores a goal.
Richarlison (pictured right) scored two goals for Brazil in their opening World Cup clash in Qatar. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) (James Williamson - AMA via Getty Images)

The second half was one-way traffic as Brazil shifted through the gears, Richarlison and Neymar wasting gilt-edged chances inside the box and Alex Sandro and Casemiro sending long-range efforts against the woodwork.

The breakthrough came just after the hour from brilliant work by Neymar to find Vinicius, whose initial shot was saved by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, but Richarlison was in the right place to tap in the rebound for his first World Cup goal.Serbia had been playing conservatively up to that point and had no choice but to push forward which gave Brazil more space.

The second goal from Richarlison brought the biggest roar of the night from the Brazilian contingent. As Richarlison attempted to control a cross from Vinicius, the ball popped over his head and he leapt into the air to volley home a bicycle kick and seal the win for Brazil.

"It is mad, you dream of this. It was a good game," Richarlison said.

Richarlison celebrates his goal with his teammates.
Richarlison helped Brazil to a 2-0 victory against Serbia. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) (Jean Catuffe via Getty Images)

"(Because of injury) I was worried that I wouldn't even be here. It was worth it to fight hard to get here."

Richarlison has now scored nine goals for Brazil this year and his goals on Thursday left the tournament favourites top of Group G. "In the second half they were a bit more tired, which we expected," said Brazil midfielder Casemiro. "Richarlison is a super player, we knew that in the box he is a super striker."

Switzerland are second in the group after they beat Cameroon 1-0 and Serbia are bottom.

with AAP

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