There’s no two ways about it, Brazil’s strikers have been misfiring during the 2014 World Cup.
Now, as their World Cup quarterfinal clash with red-hot Colombia has arrived, manager Luis Felipe Scolari could make a drastic switch and dump the Selecao’s forwards in favor of more midfielders.
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With Fred and Jo failing to deliver in the central role so far, just one goal between them in four games, it seems as though right-winger Hulk may be moved into the middle to play as a “false nine” and help quell the threat of Colombia’s James Rodriguez.
Scolari is thought to be mulling over the idea of packing the midfield to thwart Colombia’s talented attacker, with Chelsea wingers Ramires or Willian expected to come in out wide as Hulk pushes inside.
Rodriguez has drifted into the box from deep with ease to torment plenty of teams at the World Cup so far, scoring five goals in four games to lead the tournament in scoring. That alone suggests this special treatment from Brazil is worthwhile.
As for Brazil’s own attack, Neymar has bagged four goals at the World Cup and has at times looked like a one-man band as Brazil’s solid defensive displays have outshone their Samba flair. I wrote about Brazil’s over-reliance on Neymar almost costing them in their penalty kick win over Chile in the last 16, as Scolari’s struggles to find a top-class forward to help ease the burden on Neymar continues.
The expectancy of a nation will be on the shoulders of Brazil’s players on Friday.
As the country comes to a standstill, will Big Phil’s gamble to leave out his recognized strikers pay off?