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Five potential replacements for Neymar

05 July 2014, 16:33

Fortaleza, Brazil - Brazil's hopes of winning the World Cup for a sixth time have been rocked by the news that star striker Neymar will miss the remainder of the tournament through injury.

The 22-year-old suffered a fracture in the third verterbra of his back two minutes from the end of his side's 2-1 win over Colombia in Fortaleza on Friday.

Here, AFP sports looks at who might replace the Barcelona striker for Brazil's first World Cup semi-final in 12 years against Germany on Tuesday.


The Chelsea winger is one of relatively few new faces in the squad from the side that won the Confederations Cup last year after an impressive first season in England.

His versatility to play on either wing or through the middle offers coach Luiz Felipe Scolari flexibility, but his ability to cope with the pressure that Neymar was under is questionable given he failed to even hit the target with his penalty in the agonising shootout win over Chile in the last 16.


The tiny Shakhtar Donetsk man -- he replaced Willian after he left for Chelsea -- stands at just over 5ft 4inches tall and is just 21, but does have the pace and ability to go past defenders that Brazil will need in the absence of Neymar.

However, his participation in the tournament so far has been restricted to just two substitute appearances and he may be more adequately used as an impact player from the bench as legs tire later in the game.

Luis Gustavo

Neymar's loss could mean a complete tactical reshuffle for Scolari with Wolfsburg's Gustavo almost certain to return to the side following his suspension against Colombia.

Scolari was quick to praise the work done by Fernandinho and Paulinho in Fortaleza and could line up all three in central midfield in an attempt to spoil Germany's rhythm in midfield.


Another option with the intention of destroying rather than creating would be to use the energy of Chelsea's Ramires on the wing to keep German captain Philipp Lahm's forays forward in check.

It is a role the 27-year-old has carried out to decent effect in the latter stages of the Champions League in recent years, most notably when sparking a remarkable Chelsea comeback with a goal against Barcelona on their way to winning the trophy in 2012.

An extra centre-back

Brazil will not only be without Neymar, but also captain Thiago Silva through suspension against Germany.

Scolari had already flirted with the idea of switching to a 3-5-2 and doing so now may help stabilise the defence in Silva's absence, whilst also giving left-back Marcelo even more licence to exploit his attacking instincts down the left side.

Both Scolari and match-winner against Colombia David Luiz were quick to talk up the capabilities of Dante and Henrique after the game with both in contention to make their first start of the competition.



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