Neymar at FIFA 2022 World Cup: What to expect
Qatar 2022 will be special for many reasons, but for Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, it will be even more special.
After shocking the world with the revelation of his decision to retire from the Brazil national team after the 2022 FIFA World Cup, he has put his head down to work on making it a memorable one for fans of the Samba boys. For this reason, many expect Neymar and Brazil to put in a great shift come November 2022.
In this article, youâ€™ll be informed on all you need to know about Neymarâ€™s performances at past World Cups as you prepare for your Brazil bets at the World Cup 2022.
Neymar’s World Cup appearances
Neymar has played in the 2014 and 2018 World Cup editions. This would make the 2022 edition his third World Cup.
It could have been his fourth tournament, but for a decision from the manager of the 2010 Brazil team, which was greatly protested by Brazilians all over the world.
However, he was the first name on the teamsheet for Brazil for the qualifiers ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the tournament itself, which was held on home soil. All eyes were on Neymar, who had established himself as one of the brightest young players in the world.
His first match at the tournament happened to be his 50th cap for Brazil and he announced himself to the fans with a brace on home soil. By the time the group stages were over, Neymar had scored four goals – including another brace in Brazil’s last group stage match.
Against Chile in the round of 16, Neymar huffed and puffed but could not blow down the sturdy defence of his fellow South Americans. However, he scored the game winning spotkick after the game went to penalties. Unfortunately, his tournament ended in the quarter finals after a horror tackle from Colombia’s Juan Zuniga. They won the tie, regardless.
Without Neymar, Brazil were directionless in the semi-final against Germany. That night saw their biggest humiliation to date in football, and one of the biggest losses in World Cup history. The Brazil team cried out of the pitch after a 7 – 1 drubbing at the hands of Germany while Neymar watched on the sidelines in tears.
He made the team of the tournament and was awarded the bronze boot for being the third highest goalscorer at the tournament.
By the time the 2018 World Cup came round, Neymar had become a lot more mature. However, he had spells of indiscretion that cost him the captain’s armband which he was handed sometime between the 2014 and 2018 tournaments. He had also left to carve his own path after playing for three years as a member of the world’s most lethal attacking trio alongside fellow South Americans Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Luis Suarez (Uruguay).
At the 2018 tournament held in Russia, Neymar was once again the focal point of the Brazilian national team. He was in red-hot form going into the tournament but his first challenge against Switzerland went horribly wrong (don’t look at the memes). He was back on the scoresheet in their second group game and in their quarter finals game.
However, Thibaut Courtois chose to turn up and prevent him from getting his name on the scoresheet as Belgium tackled Brazil in the quarter finals. He has since grown into a more mature player and will be looking to end his time with the Brazilian squad with the World Cup title.
What to expect from Neymar
The 2022 World Cup will see Neymar at his sharpest, as the PSG attacker has gotten sharper in front of goal and even better at setting his teammates up to score. He is currently second in the country’s goal-scoring charts behind the legendary Edison Arantes do Nascimento, better known as PelĂ©.
The World Cup is in November and there is still going to be one more international break before then. Neymar could very well be going into the tournament as Brazil’s top scorer, as he is only three goals behind PelĂ© (74 to 77).
Neymar remains the heart of the Brazil national team and therefore, barring an injury or last minute changes to the Brazil squad ahead of the tournament, he is still expected to be their star man at the tournament.
He will also be going into the tournament after missing out narrowly on the 2020 Copa America title to Argentina. Qatar 2022 will be a big tournament for him as it presents a last opportunity to win a trophy of great repute with Brazil, especially after missing out on their 2019 Copa America title due to injury.
This is surely going to spur Neymar to make this tournament a worthwhile one for himself, his fans and anyone who bets on him and Brazil during the World Cup 2022 with their favourite bookmaker.
What to expect from Brazil
Brazil are the odds-on favourite to take home the trophy from Qatar especially after their performances in the past year which has seen them reclaim the number one spot on the FIFA power rankings.
They can boast of the best talents in world football, a number of whom will be making their World Cup bow. Vinicius Junior, Rodrigo Goes, Antony, Raphinha, and so on are among the exciting names that could be playing alongside Neymar in Qatar.
It is safe to bet on Brazil making it to the semi-finals of the tournament at least, but for bettors who are risk-takers, a bet on the bookmakers’ choice of Brazil as eventual winners is also a good option.