Casemiro: Brazil less reliant on Neymar at this World Cup


DOHA, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Midfielder Casemiro hailed Brazil's depth of talent after the South American giants secured a place in the FIFA World Cup round of 16 with a 1-0 victory over Switzerland on Monday.

Casemiro broke the Swiss resistance with an 83rd-minute strike at Stadium 974 in Doha, just his sixth goal in 67 appearances for his country.

The result came despite the absence of talismanic forward Neymar, who suffered an ankle injury in Brazil's tournament opener against Serbia.

"We have a wider range of options than we did [at the last World Cup] four years ago," Casemiro said. "We have more players to choose from. Even without changing the team we can change the way we play. And then we can make substitutions."

Among those substitutions on Monday was 21-year-old forward Rodrygo, who combined with Real Madrid teammate Vinicius Junior to set up the winner against Switzerland.

Neither player was a part of Brazil's 2018 squad in Russia while striker Richarlison, who scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Serbia last Thursday, was also absent four years ago.

"We have lots of younger players who are able to handle themselves at this level," Casemiro said. "Our defenders are also more experienced and this was another game in which we didn't concede a goal. We have a lot more options now than we did at the last World Cup."

Brazil head coach Tite also applauded his team's ability to cope without their influential No. 10.

"Neymar has different characteristics and a certain magic ... but we have other players who are able to step up when they are needed," Tite said.

"The result today reflects a process that has been four years in the making. That's what made the difference today. It has taken four years for our players to feel at ease in the national team and each one of them is now making the most of their opportunities," he added.

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