16 October 2022

Richarlison facing nervous wait to learn if injury will ruin World Cup dream

16 October 2022

Tottenham forward Richarlison faces a nervous wait to discover if his World Cup hopes are over after he sustained a calf injury in Saturday’s win against Everton.

The Brazilian was forced off in the 52nd minute of a 2-0 victory over his former club, which was secured thanks to second-half goals from Harry Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Richarlison limped off the pitch and was later seen on crutches at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

During an interview with ESPN Brasil, the 25-year-old was tearful as he reflected on the possibility that his goal of wearing the Selecao number nine shirt at a World Cup may be taken away.

He said: “It’s so close to the realisation of my dream. I’ve already suffered a similar injury to this but I hope it can heal as soon as possible.

“I know it’s hard to talk at this moment but let’s see. I’ll recover. Monday, I have an examination but even walking hurts. I have to stay positive if I want to go to Qatar.

“It’s all so close, it’s about a month to go and we’ve been getting ready, working every day so that nothing serious can happen.

It's so close to the realisation of my dream. I've already suffered a similar injury to this but I hope it can heal as soon as possible

“Unfortunately I had this calf injury but now it’s just a matter of waiting, doing the treatment every day so that I can recover as soon as possible.”

A calf injury last season sidelined Richarlison for a whole month and club manager Antonio Conte ruled the striker out of Wednesday’s trip to Manchester United.

Brazil do not begin their World Cup campaign in Qatar until November 24 but national team boss Tite will name his squad at the beginning of November.

Richarlison’s enforced withdrawal saw Conte switch formation to a 3-5-2, with Yves Bissouma introduced to good effect.

It helped Spurs take control and make it 10 consecutive wins in N17.

“I changed the system because for the characteristics of this squad we can play with the three strikers in a 3-4-3 or at the same time we can play with the 3-5-2,” Conte said.

“Bissouma played a really good game. I think that when we go to play with a midfield three, for him it’s in this moment it’s better to have two midfielders with him. His impact was really, really positive.

“I think it’s his understanding that he’s in a top club and the pressure is different, the level of the intensity of the training sessions are more higher so the focus has to be every, every moment at the top.

“The demands are a lot and he’s understanding this. We’re talking about a really good player and he played really well, so I’m happy.”

Everton had grown into the match and created the better of the first-half chances but Demarai Gray blazed over from a tight angle and Amadou Onana side-footed off target inside the penalty area after an excellent run from deep.

Frank Lampard conceded it had a big say on the result, adding: “In the first half, (we were) really disciplined, didn’t give Spurs the spaces they wanted.

“We had two great chances and they can be the difference in these games. If you take one of these chances, you probably don’t lose.

“There’s no doubt we came out in the second half slightly off it. The penalty is the difference in the game – I thought until then everything we were doing was good.”

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