Brazil left with few midfield options - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brazil left with few midfield options

02/07/2010 06:38:24 AM Comments (0)

Brazil coach Dunga may have a hard time selecting his midfield for the quarterfinal against the Netherlands at the World Cup on Friday because of injuries and a suspension.

Kaka and veteran Gilberto Silva are set to start at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium but a suspension to Ramires and injuries to Elano, Felipe Melo and Julio Baptista leave the coach with few options for the other two midfield positions.

Elano is definitely out because of a bruised bone in his right ankle, while Felipe Melo and Julio Baptista are doubtful to make the starting lineup.

Felipe Melo practiced on Thursday and apparently was not bothered by the left ankle injury sustained against Portugal in Brazil's final group match. The injury kept him out of Brazil's 3-0 win over Chile in the round of 16 on Monday.

"Felipe practiced normally. He is in condition to play," Dunga said. "But we have to wait until tomorrow (Friday) to see how he feels."

Julio Baptista replaced the suspended Kaka in midfield against Portugal and injured his left knee in that match. Julio Baptista missed the victory over Chile but also practiced Thursday.

Elano is the most serious problem for Brazil, however, and he could even miss the rest of the World Cup because of his injury, according to Brazil doctors. He had been key in the Brazilian midfield and will be the biggest loss for Dunga on Friday.

"Elano is important to the way Brazil plays, he contributes a lot to the team," Dunga said Thursday. "The harder the match, the better he plays."

The Galatasaray player scored in each of Brazil's first two matches before getting injured in a hard tackle against Ivory Coast.

"I wish I could be playing now," Elano said. "I will keep undergoing treatment, and hopefully I will get better to still help the team in this World Cup."

Daniel Alves came in for Elano in the previous two matches, and Dunga used Ramires to replace Felipe Melo against Chile. But Ramires received his second yellow card and will not be allowed to face the Netherlands.

"It was a shame," Ramires said. "I played well and would have been good to stay on the team. But there is nothing I can do. It just happened."

Ramires gave the pass for Robinho's goal in the second half against Chile.

World Cup veteran Kleberson and Wolfsburg captain Josue are the only defensive midfielders left if Felipe Melo is not in shape. Josue came in when Felipe Melo was injured just before halftime against Portugal. Kleberson played a few minutes after replacing Kaka against Chile.

Brazil was without its three regular staring midfielders against Portugal and struggled to break through its opponent's defensive setup in a 0-0 draw in Durban.

When Kaka was struggling to regain his form following a season hit by a series of injuries with Real Madrid, Dunga even tried to use Robinho in the playmaking position with Nilmar in attack.

The players have been downplaying the lack of options, however, saying the team will stay competitive regardless of who is starting.

"We have a group," defender Juan said. "Our work has always been based on the group."

Brazil is trying to win its sixth world title in South Africa. At the 2006 tournament in Germany, the team was eliminated by France in the quarterfinals.

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