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Scolari set to change Brazil midfield at World Cup

Scolari set to change Brazil midfield at World Cup

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 26, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

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TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) — Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is expected to change Brazil's midfield for the second-round World Cup match against Chile on Saturday, giving Fernandinho a chance to start.

Fernandinho trained with the main squad in its last training session before traveling for the match in Belo Horizonte on Thursday. He replaced Paulinho, who hadn't lived up to expectations in the three group games.

Fernandinho went on as a substitute against Cameroon on Monday and scored the last goal in a 4-1 win that secured the hosts a berth in the knockout rounds.

He found the net with a toe poke from inside the area in the 84th minute, sealing Brazil's victory. Fernandinho also helped set up Brazil's third goal, which was scored by Fred in the 49th.

In the second part of the training session, Scolari also replaced Daniel Alves with Maicon and Hulk with Ramires, but Fernandinho remained playing among the starters throughout the session.

The Manchester City defensive midfielder was a late addition to the Brazil squad trying to win the World Cup on home soil. He didn't get chances in Scolari's squad for Brazil's friendlies ahead of the tournament but was included in the squad just before the competition started.

Paulinho was given his starts in the group stage after thriving in last year's Confederations Cup, the World Cup warm-up tournament that Brazil won as hosts.

"Both are quality players and have similar characteristics, so I think that tactically not a lot will change in our team," Brazil striker Fred said.

Fernandinho started after halftime on Monday in Brasilia and the squad improved with him in midfield.

"Fernando did well when he came in," Scolari said. "He defended well and created opportunities in attack. He has a good pass. We have been making observations and what we tried to do worked."

Scolari had the starters play against the reserves for nearly an hour at the team's training camp outside Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. Paulinho scored one of the goals for the reserves, which also got on the board with an own goal by Maicon.

Defender David Luiz left with an apparent back problem late in practice, but the injury didn't appear to be serious. The Brazilian federation said he would be re-evaluated again Friday.

Alves had also been criticized for his subpar performances, while Hulk missed Brazil's second group-stage match against Mexico because of a left leg muscle injury. They are expected to remain in the starting lineup for Saturday's match.


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