World Cup 2022: Who will replace Neymar for Brazil?

World Cup 2022: Neymar of Brazil lies on the ground after injury during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group G match between Brazil and Serbia at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar on November 24, 2022.
(Image credit: Fareed Kotb/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Neymar of Brazil is out for World Cup 2022's group stage, after picking up an injury in the 2-0 win over Serbia. You can see why the Selecao are worried.

The last time that Neymar was sidelined for even a few World Cup games, the talismanic figure picked up a back injury against Colombia in 2014. The nation mourned the loss their No.10, holding his shirt as the national anthem blared out before the semi-final against Germany. We all know what happened next.

Now that Neymar is out, Brazil need a plan. The squad is deeper and stronger than it was eight years ago – and there are stars ready to step up. 

1. Bruno Guimaraes

Bruno Guimaraes of Brazil poses during the official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 portrait session on November 20, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Bruno Guimaraes of Brazil poses during the official World Cup 2022 portrait session (Image credit: Buda Mendes - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

The obvious replacement. Bruno has been Newcastle United's all-action, complete midfielder, dangerous forwards and backwards – and he was perhaps unlucky to have been benched for the first match of the campaign.

But Danilo is also out for Brazil – meaning that's another player light in the midfield since the full-back was tucking in when the side were in possession. Sure, Dani Alves can do that but he's 39 now. Surely Bruno could often the dynamism and muscle in the centre of the park?

2. Fred

Fred of Brazil looks on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group G match between Brazil and Serbia at Lusail Stadium on November 24, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.

Fred of Brazil looks on during the World Cup 2022 Group G match between Brazil and Serbia (Image credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

On the subject of strengthening the midfield, Fred has been a favourite from Tite for a while, now. Another Brazilian perhaps angling for a start, he certainly has a relationship with Casemiro at club level.

Will Fred be a deeper option in the team? Perhaps. He'll look to shore up that midfield and drift further forward to take long shots at goal, like he did against the Serbians. 

3. Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus of Brazil and Strahinja Pavlovic of Serbia during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group G match between Brazil and Serbia at Lusail Stadium on November 24, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.

Gabriel Jesus and Strahinja Pavlovic during the World Cup 2022 Group G match between Brazil and Serbia at Lusail Stadium (Image credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Tite might want to go all-out attack like he did in the first game. The advantage of the forwards at his disposal is that they all like to drift and graft across the final third.

Gabriel Jesus has been a superb ball-winner in Arsenal's attack this season, moving out of the penalty area into more of a No.10 position to aid with the dirty work. Both him and Richarlison in a kind of front two could offer the energy and work rate that could swamp a more passive side. 

4. Rodrygo

Rodrygo heads the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Serbia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 24, 2022.

Rodrygo heads the ball during the World Cup 2022 Group G football match between Brazil and Serbia at the Lusail Stadium (Image credit: NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images)

Rodrygo looked electric when he came on for Brazil. Behind Vinicius Jr in the pecking order for both club and country, the winger is a creative spark with an innate ability to come in clutch when he's needed. 

Raphinha started out on the right for Tite but he could well function as more of an interior in the full-throttle Brazilian system, with Rodrygo out wider. It seems a little like too many cooks but this is Brazil…

5. Antony

Antony in action against Tunisia for Brazil

Antony in action against Tunisia for Brazil in a friendly (Image credit: Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)

Manchester United's Antony has been criticised by some for lacking the kind of explosiveness that a winger needs 1v1. Well, if he's playing as a No.10, he might be able to offer the same kind of trickery and creativity in a different berth.

Antony as a direct replacement for Neymar could be a good move. He has great awareness of what's going on around him and with another £80m+ winger creating overloads, Brazil could stifle opponents in the final third. 

6. Gabriel Martinelli

Gabriel Martinelli of Brazil poses during the official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 portrait session on November 20, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Gabriel Martinelli of Brazil poses during the official World Cup 2022 portrait session (Image credit: Ryan Pierse - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Perhaps the least likely. Gabriel Martinelli probably didn't think he'd to this tournament, let alone start but getting onto the pitch against Serbia proves that Tite rates him. 

Martinelli loves the ball to feet as much as running in behind and his intensity could be just what Brazil needs to kill off a game quickly. A bit soon for him to be relied on? Perhaps – but then Brazil are hoping it's only a temporary fix with Neymar back soon…

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