Brazil's Willian, center, attends a practice session of the national soccer team in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Saturday, June 8, 2019. Tite picked Willian on Friday to replace the injured Neymar for the Copa America. (AP Photo/Edison Vara)

Willian practices with Brazil team ahead of Copa América

June 08, 2019 - 1:44 pm

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Chelsea forward who is replacing injured soccer star Neymar on Brazil's national team in an upcoming Copa América match has begun practicing with squad.

The naming of Willian to the team comes after Neymar suffered an ankle injury in a friendly against Qatar Wednesday and as the Brazilian soccer star faces a rape allegation. He denies the accusation.

Willian told The Associated Press on Saturday: "I am here to help in the best possible way. If (the coach) needs me for a few minutes, I'm ready to play."

French club Paris Saint-Germain said Neymar had suffered a "severe external lateral ligament sprain" to his ankle.

Willian has played 65 games with Brazil's team and scored eight goals. He last played in the May 29 Chelsea-Arsenal Europa League final.

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