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Sunday 17 December 2017

Neymar on the mend

NEYMAR is progressing "very well" from the back injury that caused the Brazil striker to exit the World Cup, according to Barcelona.

The Spanish league club said on its website that officials visited Neymar at his home in Brazil where he will remain until returning to Barcelona on Aug. 5 to continue the final phase of his recovery from a fractured vertebra.

"The Brazilian football federation's announcement of (Neymar's injury) was confirmed and the club has given its consent to the treatment by the CBF," Barcelona said. "His recovery from the injury is progressing very well and from Aug. 5 the player will continue the final phase of his treatment in Barcelona."

Barcelona will hope to have Neymar available for its season-opener, which is expected to be scheduled for late August.

Neymar sustained the back injury in the 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Colombia, leaving Brazil without its top attacking player for Tuesday's 7-1 humiliating semifinal loss to Germany. It was Brazil's worst loss in its 100-year history, matching the margin of a 6-0 defeat to Uruguay in 1920.

Neymar, who joined Barcelona last season, scored four goals in five games at the World Cup, where Brazil will look to salvage some pride on Saturday against the Netherlands in the third-place playoff.

Brazil's sports minister has called for an inquiry to find out the "root causes of the disaster" after the defeat by Germany.

The sports minister, who had previously referred to the 1950 final defeat by Uruguay as "national tragedy", told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro: "It's a terrible blemish for Brazilian football because against Germany we have played 12 times and lost only four times.

"We must analyse the root causes of this disaster, learn the lessons and try to correct them so this doesn't happen again, so that Brazil can regain it status in world football."

Rebelo said the 1950 Brazil team were "a constellation of stars" and "much better than what we have today."

Manager Luis Felipe Scolari is expected to be replaced when Brazil's tournament comes to an end and former Corinthians coach Tite, who led the club to a Copa Libertadores-FIFA Club World Cup double, is the favourite to succeed him.

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