Oscar (L) and David Luiz of Brazil look on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Quarter Final match between Brazil and Colombia at Castelao on July 4, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images
One reckless knee sent Brazil's world tumbling down. Colombian defender Zuniga not only ended Neymar's World Cup but also upended Brazil's Hexa hope. Truly, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is in a thick soup.
Talents are always aplenty in any Brazil team. This team has lot of talents but doesn't boast multiple talented forwards. If recalled, a host of fabulous forwards will come up in your mind: Ronaldo-Rivaldo-Ronaldinho, Ronaldo-Ronaldinho-Robinho, Romario-Bebeto and so on. Their partnerships upfront sent chill down the spine of their opponents.
(L-R) Brazil's forward Fred, Brazil's defender and captain Thiago Silva and Brazil's defender David Luiz take part in a training session at the Granja Comary training complex in Teresopolis on July 6, 2014 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Photo: AFP/ Getty Images
Sadly though, this time the situation is unlike Brazilian. Brazil had a one-man attack. They depended so much upon one individual. That's why Neymar's loss is so colossal to Brazil. They simply do not have any Neymar alternative now. So, what should Scolari do now?
Judging his reserve bench and ability of the regulars, I think, Big Phil has no way but to change Brazil fundamentally in their semi-final against Germany. Brazil cannot afford to play their traditionally attractive football anymore. The coach must now completely re-format his side to get a more functional system. His team will miss for sure the superstar impact. But Brazil will play aggressively, unspectacularly but effectively to stay in the race.
Scolari will rely heavily on the playmaking ability of Oscar. Brazil look more cohesive, and play more of a team when Oscar operates from the centre. Oscar is capable of dropping deep to help the midfield, can drift towards either flank to allow the wingers inside, and he neutralises rival playmakers expertly. Oscar was hugely successful in the Confederations Cup playing from this position.
Brazilian striker Neymar waves on July 5, 2014 from inside the helicopter that will transport him from Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil to his residence in Guaruya. Injured Brazil star Neymar departed his team's training base in Terespolis in a helicopter on Saturday and headed home to Sao Paulo, after his World Cup ended in agony on Friday night. Photo: AFP/ Getty Images
Scholari may go for the playing format that will ensure him tight-defence and scopes to counter-attack. A non-performing Fred is a big worry for Brazil. Big Phil may hope that the Neymar loss would finally wake up Fred, who is a pale shadow of his Confederation Cup glory.
If Fred finds his touch and Hulk continues to improve, I believe, Scolari will stick to 4-2-3-1. Otherwise, a 4-3-3 would be safe for Brazil. Brazil may not play beautiful football. Still, Brazil will have good chance to make a turnaround.