Neymar tips Belgium and Salah to shine at World Cup

Belgium boasts some of the world's best attackers and Neymar expects them to sparkle in Russia next year.

Published : Dec 21, 2017 14:29 IST

Neymar needs to be the leading light for Brazil in Russia.
Neymar needs to be the leading light for Brazil in Russia.

Neymar needs to be the leading light for Brazil in Russia.

Brazil superstar Neymar has tipped Belgium to spring a surprise at the World Cup in Russia next year. The Red Devils, managed by former Everton boss Roberto Martinez, won nine of its 10 games in qualifying and boasts some of the world's most in-form attackers, such as Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens.

Neymar, who will lead Brazil's line as it bids to win football's showpiece prize for the first time since 2002, has cited Belgium as dark horses, as well as highlighting the superb recent form of Premier League top-scorer Mohamed Salah, which could be the catalyst for Egypt to cause an upset.

Read: Superstar Salah has exceeded expectations, says Mignolet

"I think the best-known teams are the favourites, as always," he said. "Among them are Brazil, Germany, France, Spain and Argentina - these teams will be the highlights in any championship.

"And for the surprise, I think Belgium has an excellent team and can be a surprise in this World Cup. Salah is a great player who can make a difference in the World Cup."

Neymar was an instrumental figure in his country's ill-fated attempt to win the World Cup on home soil in 2014 as it suffered a crushing 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals.

However, the PSG star believes he is a more experienced player now and is better positioned to spearhead an attempt to win a sixth World Cup for his country.

He added: "The difference is hard to explain, but I think I'm more experienced, more wise, more 'cascudo', as we say in Brazil.

"This is because I had many experiences, I participated in a World Cup where we lost and I think I'll be more prepared for the next one, because I know what is like to be in a World Cup, I can be better prepared.

"So the Neymar in 2018 is better than the Neymar in 2014."

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