Neymar makes first competitive start since metatarsal injury as Brazil open World Cup 2018 campaign

Neymar will make his first competitive start since February after being named in Brazil’s starting XI for their World Cup Group E opener against Switzerland.

The 26-year-old sustained a fractured metatarsal while playing for Paris Saint-Germain, putting his World Cup participation in some doubt.

However, the world’s most expensive player made a scoring return to action in friendly wins over Croatia and Austria prior to Brazil’s arrival in Russia, and lines up alongside Chelsea’s Willian and Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus in a menacing front three.

Philippe Coutinho is joined in midfield by Barcelona team-mate Paulinho and Real Madrid’s Casemiro, while there is no place in the squad for Manchester United-bound Fred, who is recovering from an ankle injury.

Switzerland, meanwhile, will be looking to Xherdan Shaqiri for inspiration – the Stoke City man was the last player to score a World Cup hat-trick before Cristiano Ronaldo’s treble against Spain on Friday.

Article continues below

[embedded content]

Brazil boss Tite admitted in the build up to the game that Neymar is not yet 100 per cent following an injury-enforced absence, but he has backed the PSG star to shine on the grandest of stages.

He said: “Neymar is not 100 per cent yet.

“But he is very privileged physically, his sprinting capacity and his speed is really impressive, he hasn’t lost that. He’s not 100 per cent yet. But he’s good enough to play very well.”

Let’