Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Brazil's Willian smiles as he listens to a question during a press conference at the Granja Comary training center in Teresopolis, Brazil, Sunday, July 6, 2014. Brazil will face Germany on Tuesday in their World Cup semifinals' match, without superstar soccer player Neymar. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Brazil tries to stay confident after losing Neymar
World Cup » Scolari hints Willian may replace young star.
First Published Jul 06 2014 10:17 pm • Last Updated Jul 06 2014 10:31 pm

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil • Still coping with the loss of its biggest star, Brazil is trying to find ways to remain upbeat about its prospects at the World Cup.

The medical helicopter that took Neymar home with a back injury also carried away much of the country’s hopes for a sixth world title, but the tournament isn’t over yet and Brazil is just days away from a difficult semifinal against Germany.

At a glance

Brazil vs. Germany

Tuesday, 2 p.m.

TV » ESPN

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"We have to try to be mature in a moment like this," Brazil defender David Luiz said. "We are sad because we are missing an important player and someone who was trying to fulfill his dream of winning this title."

One of the tournament’s main attractions, Neymar had been decisive for Brazil until the devastating injury late in the team’s 2-1 win over Colombia in the quarterfinals on Friday. He was crucial on the field and an essential part of the group trying to win the title at home. He was seen as the joyful youngster who was admired and respected by everyone.

A meeting with the team’s psychologist was scheduled with the players on Sunday to discuss the striker’s absence.

"We will talk about what needs to be done to make sure the players understand that we can still win the World Cup despite of what happened," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said.

Brazil doctor Jose Luiz Runco said the players were "shocked and saddened" when they heard Neymar would miss the rest of the World Cup.

"It’s sad because we know how hard he worked to be here with us," striker Fred said. "We know how important he was for us. But we have to look at our group and realize that it still has a lot of quality."

Everyone knows it won’t be easy replacing Neymar. Brazil thrived when he played well and struggled when he didn’t live up to expectations.

"It’s difficult to lose a player who is so crucial to our team," veteran right back Maicon said.


story continues below
story continues below

It will be up to Scolari to find a replacement for the 22-year-old striker and to keep the team in contention for a sixth world title.

The team’s other forwards have been struggling since the competition began, and nobody else in the squad has the characteristics of the Barcelona star.

Instead of using reserve strikers Bernard or Jo, it’s likely that Scolari will pick one of his midfielders to play in the match against Germany on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte. Willian, Hernanes and Ramires are the most probable options.

Making matters worse for Scolari is the fact that captain and central defender Thiago Silva will also be missing because of a yellow card suspension.

"We don’t know who is going to come in, but we know that we have a lot of quality players in our squad," Silva said. "We are sad for Neymar and because I’m not going to play, but we have to be prepared despite these absences."

One way for Brazil to try to stay positive may be to look to its past.

It’s not the first time Brazil’s national team lost its best player to injury during the World Cup. It happened to Pele and Brazil still won the title.

"I was also injured during the 1962 World Cup in Chile, and I was out for the rest of the tournament," Pele said. "But God helped Brazil continue on to win the championship."

When Pele hurt a muscle in the second match of the tournament in Chile, most in Brazil said the chances of a world title had diminished significantly. But the team won its next four matches to clinch its second consecutive trophy.

"I hope the same will happen with our Selecao in this World Cup," Pele said.

Runco added that Neymar’s absence can work in Brazil’s favor.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.