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Never Has Brazil's Soccer Team Depended so little on Neymar for Goals

07/06/2018 - 12h43

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CAMILA MATTOSO
DIEGO GARCIA
SÉRGIO RANGEL
LUIZ COSENZO
KAZAN

Neymar, 26, has always made, and still makes a difference - but Brazil no longer depends on him.

Ever since he joined the starting team, Neymar has been the main star.

For the past three coaches he has been a striker, but their dependency on him was more pronounced than it is now. With Mano, he had an average of 0.63 goals per game, and with Felipão the figure was 0.67. Dunga was the most dependent on him. In 16 games, Neymar scored 11 goals (0.69).

With Tite, he has scored 11 goals, an average of 0.57 per game.

After an injury to his right foot, he underwent surgery and spent more than two months out of training. Tite has been counting on Neymar to reach his peak by the fifth game, in the quarter-finals.

As of now, Neymar has three teammates who are threatening his position: Gabriel Jesus has scored ten goals, and Coutinho and Paulinho have each scored eight.

In interviews, Tite makes a point of praising Neymar while stressing teamwork as the key weapon in Russia. Willian, 29, and Gabriel Jesus, 21, are held up as examples of players committed to the team.

He touts the Brazilian team's balance as its strong point. It is endowed with the tightest defense - giving up only goal - and the fifth best attack. It has scored seven times, an average of one goal for every two games.

AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN
TOPSHOT - Brazil's forward Neymar attends a training session at the Tsentralny Stadium in Kazan
TOPSHOT - Brazil's forward Neymar attends a training session at the Tsentralny Stadium in Kazan

According to a Folha survey, in 389 minutes played, Brazil has been targeted with 33 shots, of which 12 were blocked, 17 went out of bounds and 4 were on goal. Only one of them made it into the net.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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