2014 World Cup: 5 Players Who Could Replace Neymar for Brazil
The loss of Neymar due to injury presents a very difficult task to solve for Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. Brazil does have many other quality players who can step in to provide their own unique impact on the game. So while the loss is felt, Scolari may be able to find a solid replacement to give Brazil a good chance of defeating Germany in the semifinals. These five players are based off the available substitutes from the last game.
Hernanes, the Internazionale midfielder, is certainly capable of starting in this Brazilian squad. He can play in generally any midfield role, but he may be a bit more offensive minded than players like Luis Gustavo and Fernandinho. If he were to join the starting XI for Brazil, you might see Oscar deployed in Neymar's left wing position as he has played there before.
Willian, who plays for Chelsea, might be a more suitable option for Scolari. He is more of a wide player than Hernanes or Oscar and plays in a similar role for Chelsea, but with more emphasis on defense. Scolari has allowed his front three players in the 4-3-3 formation to stay high and press teams on the counter. Willian does lack a strong left foot to get crosses into the box, but Brazil has not needed that yet in this tournament.
3. Luis Gustavo
3. Luis Gustavo
Luis Gustavo, who plays for Bayern Munich, would be inserted purely as a defensive tactic. He plays the holding midfield role very well and has started for Brazil in several games during this tournament. If Scolari elects to play defensively against Germany, you might see Luis Gustavo in the starting lineup to take Neymar's place.
Ramires, who also plays for Chelsea, is a similar player to Luis Gustavo, but often has the ability to bomb forward and attack with pace at times. He is a very speedy player, but sound tactically on defense which will be needed against a very disciplined and dangerous German attack. If Scolari intends to attack solely on the counter, Ramires might be a good option in midfield.
Bernard, who plays Shakhtar Donetsk, is the only true winger in this group. He is a diminutive player who plays with great pace and technical ability on the ball. He is right-footed so his ability to cut in from the left wing could make him the ideal replacement for Neymar. If Scolari is looking to keep the formation and style that has seen Brazil through to the semifinals, Bernard should be his top choice.