Confederations Cup - Hernanes to replace Paulinho in Brazil midfield

Brazil midfielder Paulinho will be replaced by Lazio's Hernanes for Saturday's Confederations Cup clash against Italy.

Reuters
Confederations Cup - Hernanes to replace Paulinho in Brazil midfield
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Hernanes, Mario Balotelli (AFP)

Scolari has yet to decide whether to play defenders Dani Alves and Thiago Silva, both of whom are one caution away from missing the next game. Brazil have already qualified for the semi-finals, as have their opponents.

"We have chosen not to give Paulinho a game so he can recover fully," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said of the Corinthians midfielder, who has an ankle knock.

"I have not decided yet whether those two, Dani or Thiago will play or not. They want to play but I'll think about it.

"The decision to have Hernanes replace Paulinho is normal," he added. "He's a slightly different player in that he dribbles, he turns and I have no question that we will have the same quality. We are doing quite well in every position."

Hernanes said he hoped to grab the chance, especially given that he plays his club football for Rome side Lazio.

"These chances come about and you can show what you can do," Hernanes said. "It is an important match, with two world class teams, so everything you do in a game like this can add up."

The game will also be a special one for Alves, who began his career with local team Bahia.

"When I stepped on to the pitch I saw all these wonderful images in my head of where it all started," he said. "This is an opportunity to come back. The stadium is beautiful, everything is perfect and we hope tomorrow is as beautiful as the stadium."

The Barcelona player was impressed with the team's preparations so far.

"I think Brazil has kept developing and that is due to the chance we have had to work together over a space of time," Alves said.

"We are doing things we didn't do before because we didn't have the time. Before, we trained two days and then played a match and we didn't have much time together or have a balanced team.

"Since then we have assimilated the ideas of the coach, we are doing what is requested of us and we hope to keep building and take another step ahead with this match."

Although Brazil need only a draw to finish top of Group A and Scolari dismissed suggestions the team were already thinking of playing just for a point.

"We are going to play to win, we may go for a draw during the game but we are not going to set out playing for a draw," he said.

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