DOHA, Qatar (AP) — There were no signs of the limp or the swollen ankle that had sidelined Neymar at the World Cup.
There was a goal, though.
Neymar scored from the penalty spot in the 13th minute to help Brazil beat South Korea 4-1 and advance to the quarterfinals for the eighth straight World Cup.
The forward’s 76th goal moved him one shy of Pelé’s all-time scoring record for Brazil’s national team. Vinícius Júnior, Richarlison and Lucas Paquetá also scored for Brazil at Stadium 974.
Neymar hadn’t played since injuring his right ankle in the team’s opening match against Serbia. Brazil coach Tite had said Neymar would play from the start against South Korea depending on how he did in training on Sunday.
Neymar was substituted in the 80th and said he felt fine.
“I didn’t feel anything on the ankle,” he said. “I think I played well, but there is always room for improvement.”
Danilo, who also injured his ankle in Brazil’s opener, joined Neymar in the starting lineup against South Korea. He played at left back, though, because Alex Sandro remained sidelined with a hip injury. The other left back, Alex Telles, was dropped from the squad because of a knee injury sustained in Brazil’s loss to Cameroon in its last group game. Central defender Éder Militão was playing at right back.
Gabriel Jesus also was dropped from the squad because of a knee injury.