Seleção training in London ahead of Croatia friendly

His keepie uppies are fine, but what about the metatarsal? (Mowa Press)

The Seleção are stepping up their World Cup training preparations in London. Crucially, Neymar is back in full training and expected to play against Croatia on Sunday.

After several days of training at their headquarters in Granja Comary in Rio de Janeiro last week, during which time they received visits from former World Cup winning managers such as Carlos Alberto Perreira, celebrated Tite’s 57th birthday, saw Neymar make his return from injury, mingled with fans visited the Seleção museum, the Seleção boarded a flight to England on Sunday.

They are now stepping up their preparations in London and training at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground. They aren’t messing around – just eight hours after their plane landed, Brazil’s players were out on the training pitch. Some of them are chomping at the bit: Roberto Firmino was only meant to join up with the squad on Wednesday after playing in the Champions League final, but he turned up on Tuesday instead. Casemiro and Marcelo will join up on Wednesday.

As far as Brazil fans are concerned, the most important news is that Neymar’s return from injury seems to be going to plan. The star has not played a competitive game since breaking his metatarsal in a match for PSG in February. But he stepped up his training last week in Brazil and his rehabilitation continues in London. As this picture shows, the player seems to be moving freely and graciously.

Moving freely (Mowa Press)

There were some reports that he winced a few times after going in for tackles during training, but his foot held out and he is fine. Tite hasn’t confirmed the team to face Croatia in Liverpool on Sunday – which is at Anfield and kicks off at 3pm UK, 11am Brazil – although it seems very likely that Neymar will play in that match, and most probably start. Good news for the people of Liverpool. Good news for the Seleção. And good news for football fans around the world.

In other news, Fagner, the substitute for the injured Dani Alves’ substitute and likely starter at the World Cup, is also recovering from an injury and might not be fit in time for Saturday’s game. Douglas Costa is also carrying and injury and looks doubtful for that match. After Sunday’s game the team will continue their preparations until 8 June, before heading to Austria where they play Austria in a friendly on 10 June. Their opening match of the World Cup is on 17 June against Switzerland. In case you missed it, check out Brazil’s World Cup squad and find out the names of the twelve players on standby.

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