Brazil to examine lineup options
Facing a World Cup semifinal without his star forward and top centre-back, Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said he will examine his options before deciding his lineup to face Germany.
Defender Thiago Silva will be suspended after picking up his second yellow card against Colombia in Friday's quarterfinal victory, but the bigger blow is an injury to Neymar that will rule him out of the rest of the tournament.
Neymar suffered a fractured vertebra in a late collision, Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said after Brazil's 2-1 win.
Speaking before the extent of Neymar's injury was confirmed, Scolari said recovery time will be a big factor in who plays against Germany. The teams have have just three days off before meeting in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.
"We have two more steps ahead of us and still have the capacity to climb up those two steps," Scolari said. "My role is to decide if we can change our tactical lineup and I will study this. It depends on how players recover, and I will look at our players."
Brazil took an early lead on Thiago Silva's goal in the seventh minute, then David Luiz doubled the lead with a stunning free-kick from distance in the second half. Scolari praised his team for continuing to get forward rather than sitting back to defend a slim lead.
"The rhythm in the second half, when we were at 2-0 and could have slowed the game down, we still accelerated," Scolari said. "We don't need to do that, so we need to have a moment to slow the game down and hold the ball."
Brazil faced some criticism in recent days after needing to go to penalties to beat Chile in the round of 16, but Scolari said the extra time did not affect his players' mentality.
"10-15 days ago, nobody believed we would come out of the group stage and the quarterfinals," Scolari said. "I don't think we were worn out because of Chile. We were able to recover and had we finished off two of the chances we had from Hulk, we would have felt slightly better.
"When we conceded the goal that caused us a lack of calmness and a whole avalanche on our team."
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Luiz expressed his happiness with the Selecao's play, saying, "Great team and great philosophy to play football. Great players and a great coach."
But Luiz will find himself partnered with a new player in centre-back after Thiago Silva picked up a suspension for clattering into Colombia keeper David Ospina.
Henrique entered the game late when Neymar was injured and Brazil added an additional defender, but Dante could also find himself called into the lineup against Germany.
"They are ready for this World Cup," Scolari said about his options. "Henrique had some minutes to play and [all players] are dreaming to play for our national squad, but we will be well served."
Silva picked Dante, who plays in Germany for Bayern Munich, to replace him against the Germans.
"It was already written, Dante had to play this game because he already plays in Germany," said Silva. "Motivation will be the strength of the team. I'm happy for Dante, because he will have the opportunity to show the world all the quality that he has. As for me, I will try to pass tranquility to the team."