Hulk injury could prompt tactical change by Brazil

Fortaleza (Brazil), June 17 (IANS): Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has minimised the impact of Hulk's thigh injury which threatens to force a change in Brazil's XI against Mexico in a World Cup Group A fixture Tuesday.

The Zenit St. Petersburg forward sat out of training Monday despite a scan clearing the 27-year-old of muscle damage in his left thigh, reports Xinhua.

"He wasn't able to train today so there was no point in him coming. We will evaluate him tomorrow. We have 23 players and we chose them well. So there will be no problem at all," Scolari said.

Hulk was replaced by Shakhtar Donetsk winger Bernard in the second half of Brazil's 3-1 victory over Croatia in their opener Thursday. But in Sunday and Monday's training, Scolari experimented with Ramires, arming the Selecao with greater reinforcement in central midfield.

The inclusion of the Chelsea No.7 against Mexico would essentially provide Brazil with three holding midfielders: Ramires, Luiz Gustavo and Paulinho. It would also allow Oscar and Neymar greater space to roam behind striker Fred with the Chelsea midfielder on the right and Neymar cutting in from the left.

Scolari can also call up Oscar's club teammate Willian and Inter Milan playmaker Hernanes.

Brazil captain Thiago Silva alluded to Brazil's wealth of options.

"Hulk would be a big loss but Felipao could close one eye and choose between Bernard, Ramires and Willian," Silva said.

Despite his relaxed mood, Scolari gave no hints about his team for the clash at the Estádio Castelão and added that Hulk's absence would force a strategy rethink.

"If there is any problem with Hulk I will lose the system with which we have been playing for some time. The players have different characteristics but they can also bring things to the team like speed, a different type of marking and positioning," he added.

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