NEYMAR’S torrid injury spell has ruled the Brazil star out of his nation’s home Copa America.
After sitting out the business end of the campaign in both his seasons at Paris Saint-Germain, the winger’s recent return to action was short lived.
In a friendly against Qatar, he ruptured ankle ligaments and was deemed unfit to participate in the South American showdown.
Brazil kick off the competition against Bolivia in Sao Paulo on Friday night before games with Group A rivals Venezuela and Peru.
Here, Sun Sport looks at how the hosts will line up without their star forward.
EXPERIENCED DEFENCE, YOUTHFUL ATTACK
Coach Tite has a very settled backline that is expected to start the tournament, Liverpool shot-stopper Alisson Becker between the posts.
As in their final warm-up game, a 7-0 hammering of Honduras, the quartet of Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Filipe Luis should form up.
The Atletico Madrid left-back has held out long-term first-choice Marcelo under the current coach and Juve ace Alex Sandro is the preferred backup this summer.
Philippe Coutinho is set to take his place in the midfield, along with Real Madrid anchor man Casemiro and Fernandinho.
A knee injury troubled the Manchester City man towards the end of the campaign but he should edge Napoli’s Allan if available.
It’s in attack where the surprises come, as Neymar’s absence will allow two young wingers a chance to take centre stage.
Richarlison has emerged as a favourite of Tite and notched in both of Brazil’s pre-tournament friendlies.
On the other flank would be Neymar, but David Neres could cap an excellent season with Ajax by starting against Bolivia.
The 22-year-old only made his international debut in March, also as cover for an injury, and made the most of the opportunity to earn a call-up to the Copa America squad – ahead of Vinicius Junior and Lucas Moura.
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Up front, Roberto Firmino is likely to beat Gabriel Jesus to the central striker’s berth despite fitness issues of his own.
Much is expected of Brazil in this year’s Copa America – especially after flopping in the United States three years ago.
Holders Chile are not anticipated to put up a great defence to win a third consecutive title but Argentina and 15-time champions Uruguay are hotly tipped to go far in Brazil.
This post written by Marc Mayo originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.