After frequently underwhelming with Neymar in the side, Brazil’s nights are now sleepless as they contemplate how they’re going to manage without the Barcelona man.
Just once on the Selecao’s run to the World Cup semi-finals have they looked like an upper echelon international outfit, a resounding ground and pound operation on hapless Cameroon representing their only noteworthy performance.
Their teary-eyed talisman scored twice in that game after to firing two fortunate efforts past Stipe Pletikosa in the Croatia goal way back in the opening match.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side have scraped by when he hasn’t turned up and they’ll have to do so once more if they are to see off Germany at odds of 9/5 in their semi-final skirmish.
It’s more likely that the loss of suspended skipper Thiago Silva will be a far greater detriment to Brazil’s chances of derailing die Mannschaft, especially with these contingency plans in place to bail them out.
Shift Oscar inside
The Chelsea craftsman has been enhancing his reputation on the right of the Brazilian attack this tournament.
Shifting him into Neymar’s central berth will free him of the defensive burdens he was carrying out with aplomb and will allow a natural wide man to exploit the foibles of makeshift Nationalelf left-back Benedikt Howedes.
A rare breed of attacking midfielder, the Chelsea man is more than willing to pitch in with the defensive labour, but has the deftness of foot to dance around defenders too.
He’d carry out the agricultural duties Big Phil has commanded of Oscar with greater proficiency and wouldn’t detract from the team’s attacking threat on the right.
Revert to a three-man midfield
Scolari doesn’t tend to move the magnetic circles on his tactics board around too much, but to compensate for the loss of captain Silva, he may want to reinforce the middle band to counter Germany’s multitude of creative talents.
If he insists on keeping Oscar wide on the right, Ramires could slot in alongside Luiz Gustavo and Fernandinho/Paulinho to form a tough-tackling, high-energy midfield triumvirate.