Brazil have got to the quarter final of the World Cup, but with the hopes of an expectant nation on their shoulders, the hosts need to find the next level in order to beat Colombia who are in sparkling form. One way they could achieve this is by shuffling the pack a little.
Against Chile, Fred was again just a bystander as he has been in all but one of Brazil's games so far, and even then it has resulted in just one goal and more often than not underwhelming performances. It is unfair to purely judge a striker on his goal return as they bring so much more to a side with their work rate and positioning but unfortunately Fred has been ineffective on every level.
In Brazil's last game against Chile, Hulk was a standout performer and finally showed some of the power and pace that at one time made him one of the most coveted forwards in world football. Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg paid an enormous fee to bring the muscular striker to the club from Porto, and although some would say he has failed to live up to the price tag, he is still highly regarded for his abilities.
Against Chile, he was much more effective when he had come inside from the flank where, in previous games he has been rather ineffective, and played more directly at the back four. His size, strength and pace caused their defenders a lot of problems and when he found space for a shot, his powerful left foot very nearly got them a goal.
If Hulk were to move inside against Colombia, that would probably allow Scolari to play both Oscar and Willian in the attacking wide men role, rather than always swap one for the other as a substitution. Colombia have the ageing Mario Yepes at the heart of the defence, and at 38-years-old, he may struggle to cope with the pace of Hulk. Fred's seeming refusal to move from a very central position makes it rather easy for him to be picked up.
Brazil will also need to be able to attack on the counter, as they will have to soak up pressure from Colombia's impressive forward players, and Hulk will provide a valuable outlet as he is not only big enough to hold the ball up effectively, but his pace will make him a real danger to their back line.
Ultimately, Brazil's priority has to be to ensure that Neymar gets as much freedom as possible, allowing him to be the attacking force that he has been so far in the tournament. He came in for some rough treatment at the hands of the Chilean players which will inevitably stifle his creativity, but with Hulk causing a real nuisance up front and pushing their back line deeper, it should leave a gap just in front that Neymar could exploit with great effect.
Scolari has made it work so far and who are we to criticise his selection, but with an expectant country looking on he should consider the best possible selection of players.
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