With Brazil’s forward ineffective and Neymar out throughout the World Cup, it will be upon the team’s midfielders and defenders to keep Brazil’s fire burning at the World Cup.
Brazil has to turn the focus away from attack ahead of the game against Germany on Wednesday with hopes that the rest of the team comes through and carries the hosts into the final.
In its first five matches, Brazil has managed to score ten goals with Neymar scoring four, centre forward Fred scored one, while the defenders scored the team’s last three goals.
It is most likely that the team’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari might replace Neymar with a midfielder in the absence of any reliable option.
The coach had even considered removing Fred from the lineup and going back to the 3-5-2 formation by adding a third central defender. This is the formation he used when he led Brazil to its fifth world title in 2002.
”We are a team, and a team is not made up only of strikers,” Scolari said. ”We have a group. When this group wins, everybody wins, regardless of who scores the goals.”
The most likely replacement for Neymar is Willian, the Chelsea midfielder. But Scolari hinted during their practice on Monday that he may even use three defensive midfielders as Luiz Gustavo returning to the team after his yellow card suspension.
”We have good players for the sector where Neymar played,” Scolari said. ”We have options. I’m confident, I’m not worried.”
Scolari picked four other strikers for the World Cup in addition to the Barcelona striker. He picked Bernard, Fred, Hulk and Jo.
Fred was meant to supply goals, but he has been struggling leading to many criticisms being level against him from the local media and fans. His lone goal came in the 4-1 win over Cameroon in their final group stage match.
”Fred has been playing for the team,” Scolari said. ”We can keep winning, even if he doesn’t score. Fred is not the only one in charge of scoring. Everyone has that responsibility.”
Since Ronaldo stopped playing after the 2006 World Cup, Brazil hasn’t had a star striker.
Apart from Neymar, Thiago Silva may also miss the match because of his yellow card suspension. Thiago Silva is the captain and central defender. He is most likely to be replaced by Dante who plays in Germany for Bayern Munich.
In Brazils match against Colombia on Friday where they scored 2-1, Thiago scored one of the goals while David Luiz his fellow defender scored the other.
Neymar was ruled out of the World Cup after fracturing a vertebra late in the match against Colombia. He was kneed in the back by Camilo Zuniga.
Silva said that it’s in times like that that the whole team has to show its strength since the national team is not only about Neymar.
The remaining matches will be interesting to watch since they will require formations that will try to fill the gap left by Neymar and most likely Thiago Silva.