Brazil enter Monday's World Cup last-16 tie against South Korea preoccupied with Pele's health and coach Tite Selecao wondering whether Canarinho's current No. 10 has kept Neymar out of the last two games with an ankle injury.
In his press conference ahead of Friday's final group game against Cameroon, Tite wished Pele a speedy recovery after being hospitalized in Sao Paulo this week.
The three-time World Cup winner, now 82, is undergoing "re-evaluation" of chemotherapy following surgery to remove a colon tumor in September last year.
Brazil fans unfurled a banner with the message "Get well soon" for Pele before the Cameroon game, which the Selecao lost 1-0, their first defeat in the group stage since 1998.
If you get
Brazil still have attacking options after Gabriel Jesus returned home from injury, but have scored just once since Neymar sprained his ankle in their opening 2-0 win over Serbia on November 24.
"The whole team will improve with his return," said Richarlison, scorer of both goals against Serbia on Friday. “I hope he comes back. Everyone saw how much we missed him in the last two games. I think him coming back will make me better."
A win for Brazil at Doha's Stadium 974 would see them advance to the quarter-finals against either Japan or Croatia, with a last-four clash against arch-rivals Argentina still on the cards
South Korea were the second-lowest ranked team to go into the knockout stages but the Tottenham Hotspurs forward was clear the Brazilians will not take them lightly.
“They are an aggressive and strong team. We can't make mistakes," Richarlison warned.
Still, the South Koreans will know the odds are against them. Coach Paolo Bento's side have recent experience of how thrilling it can be to take on Brazil. The two teams met in a friendly in Seoul in June and Brazil won 5–1, with Neymar scoring two penalties.
They will rely on talisman Son Heung-min to lead them against Brazil on Monday, having run out himself on Friday to see his side through to the last 16.
"It's great but our tournament is not over," Son - who was Richarlison's Spurs team-mate - said after the emotion of the dramatic win over Portugal.
"We have always talked about reaching the round of 16 as our goal but we should try to surpass it now," Putra, who shed tears of joy, told Korean media in Doha.
The South Koreans are the only Asian team to reach the semi-finals, having previously been co-hosts with Japan in 2002. On Monday, they hope to shock Brazil on their way to making history again.
Brazil predicted XI Alisson(GK); Militao, Marquinhos, Silva, Danilo; Paqueta, Casemiro, Neymar; Raphinha, Richarlison, Vinicius Jr
South Korea predicted XI: Seung-gyu(GK); Moon-hwan, Kyung-won, Young-gwon, Jin-su; In-beom, Woo-young; Hee-chan, Kang-in, Heung-min; Gue-sung
When will the Brazil vs South Korea Round of 16 match kick-off?
The Brazil vs South Korea Round of 16 match will kick-off at 12:30AM IST, December 6.
Where will the Brazil vs South Korea Round of 16 match kick-off?
The Brazil vs South Korea Round of 16 match will kick-off at Stadium 974.