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Scholari to make changes

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil - Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has hinted in training that midfielder Willian is his first option to replace Neymar in Brazil's World Cup semi-final against Germany.

Willian took Neymar's position when Brazil's reserves played against a local under-20 squad at its training camp outside Rio de Janeiro.

The other options for Scolari include Ramires, Bernard and Hernanes.

"You can't compare Neymar to any other player, he has a lot of quality," Willian said. "I have a different style. He is more of a striker, scores more goals, while my strong suit is to set up my teammates."

The Chelsea player left practice near the end of Saturday's session because of a hit on the back but said the injury was not a problem even though it "was still bothering" him a bit.

Bernard said he is prepared to play but acknowledged it won't be easy to replace the team's biggest star.

"It's a difficult situation," he said. "No player would want to have this opportunity to play because of an injury to someone so important to us on and off the field. But it happened, and we have to understand that we can get through this."

In addition to missing Neymar, Brazil will not be able to count on captainr Thiago Silva because of a yellow card suspension. Dante, who plays in Germany for Bayern Munich, is his likely replacement. Fellow defender David Luiz is the probable captain tomorrow.

The Brazilian football confederation is trying to overturn Silva's suspension and FIFA said it was analysing the request.

Neymar was kneed in the back in the 86th minute of the match against Colombia, sustaining a fractured vertebra that will sideline him for about 45 days.

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