Jul 6, 2014, 10:35 PM EDT
After watching Brazil’s training, it appears Chelsea midfielder Willian is the likely candidate to replace the injured Neymar when Brazil take on Germany in the World Cup semifinals.
Let me rephrase this: Willian is likely to take Neymar’s place against Germany.
Nobody can replace Neymar.
The Chelsea attacker played in Neymar’s number-10 slot during a training match against a local Brazilian U-20 side outside Rio de Janeiro, according to Associated Press writer Tales Azzoni.
Brazil won the match 3-0 on goals from Dante as well as Bernard and Ramires. The latter two are other candidates to start against Germany.
Willian would be a likely frontrunner for the position, although he admitted there would be some differences with himself in the lineup.
“You can’t compare Neymar to any other player, he has a lot of quality,” Willian said during a media opportunity. “I have a different style. He is more of a striker, scores more goals, while my strong suit is to set up my teammates.”
The 25-year-old knows himself well, having created a trio of chances in just three substitute appearances so far this World Cup. He scored four goals and grabbed three assists in the Premier League last season, and has nearly twice as many assists as goals over his professional career (44 goals and 78 assists).
According to Squawka statistics, Willian created a chance every 26 minutes this past Premier League season.
In addition, with captain Thiago Silva suspended due to yellow card accumulation – a decision which Brazil is appealing but unlikely to succeed – Willian’s Chelsea teammate David Luiz is the frontrunner to captain the side.
The Blues will have a heavy presence in the match, with Germany’s Andre Schurrle making a heavy impact off the bench in this World Cup and could earn himself a start.
- WATCH LIVE: FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake kick off MLS weekend 0
- MLS Weekend Preview: Trio of marque marquee matches begins Friday in Frisco 0
- Early Mandzukic goal sees Atlético defeat Real Madrid, claim Spanish Super Cup 1
- Robben dominance, Malanda miss give Bayern opening match win over Wolfsburg 0
- Prindi’s Premier League Picks: United to get it right, Arsenal to stumble 2
- Profile: The life and times of Mario Balotelli 0