Neymar gets his first chance to influence a major international tournament this summer when hosts Brazil face-off with South Africa at what’s sure to be an electric Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasília on Thursday.
The 3 p.m. EDT kickoff sees the Barcelona star and his tournament favorite side open play in its group, three hours after Iraq and Denmark got Group A started.
In addition to Neymar, there’s his Barca teammate Rafinha and Lazio standout Felipe Anderson. The side will be buoyed in the back by Paris Saint-Germain mainstay Marquinhos, and new Manchester City man Gabriel Jesus joins “Gabigol” of Santos as a dangerous young combination in attack.
26-times capped 26-year-old Eric Mathoho and 75-times capped goalekeeper Itumeleng Khune lead a South African unit that will need to pull off a major shock to get a point against the hosts.
In addition to streaming onNBCOlympics.com, the match will also be available on the NBC Sports app.