International Football

Hulk or Lucas Moura: Who Deserves Brazil's World Cup Starting Spot More?

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JUNE 14:  (L-R)  Givanildo Vieira de Souza known as Hulk, Lucas Moura, David Luiz, Neymar of Brazil stand together during the Brazil Training Session at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 at  Estadio Nacional on June 14, 2013 in Brasilia, Brazil.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Christopher AtkinsContributor IJune 24, 2013

It has been an ongoing debate for some time among fans of the Brazilian national team with opinions varying wildly—Hulk or Lucas Moura, who should start on the right of the Selecao's attacking unit?

Heading into the Confederations Cup just two weeks ago, public opinion on the matter would have been firmly in favour of former Sao Paulo star Lucas. He is one of the current darlings of the country's sports media and just a few months ago was leading his former club to continental success in South America.

Hulk, meanwhile, has struggled to form a solid relationship with the Brazilian crowds. His performances for the national team have been mixed, to say the least, and he has already played outside of his homeland for many years.

While Lucas may also have generally failed to live up to expectation in the canary yellow shirt, his performances closer to home at club level make him a better choice in the eyes of many.

It is a debate, though, that has been complicated by Brazil's recent upturn in results. The Selecao have now won four consecutive games, scoring some delightful goals in the process. As part of that upturn in form, Hulk has also begun to contribute more to the side from his position on the right.

Brazil are now a far more fluid side than they have been in recent months. The abandoning of Luiz Felipe Scolari's attempted 4-4-2 formation to allow Oscar to play as a central playmaker, with Neymar and Hulk wide, has seen the side attack with renewed energy.

Defensively, there is still work to be done. However, with extended time together as a squad, they have finally built a cohesive unit going forward. Hulk, while not overly impressive himself, has been a well-integrated member of that side.

Therein lies the crux of the matter at present: Brazil are winning, and Hulk has improved in their last two fixtures, meaning Lucas must be content with a substitute's role for now. That situation is unlikely to change during the tournament, unless he can make an astonishing impact in the semifinals.

However, a year is a long time in football, and all that could change ahead of the 2014 World Cup. 

Hulk, currently at Zenit, has been linked with a move to the Premier League, according to Paulo Freitas of Sky Sports.

Lucas will take on Ligue 1 for a second season with Paris Saint-Germain, while Atletico Mineiro youngster Bernard could be the wild-card challenger for a position.

Much will depend on club form, with neither Hulk nor Lucas having made a clear case for selection at the international level. A starring role in success for their respective club, therefore, could be cause for inclusion.

Both players offer directness in their play that is designed to complement the talents of Oscar and Neymar, in particular.

While the other two interchange and take on more creative roles, the third member of the line behind Fred is expected to run at defenders and seek to shoot or cross. Hulk may be stronger than Lucas, but the younger man instead possesses blinding speed that can terrify opponents.

Indeed, the selection decision may come down to these very tactical considerations. At present, Hulk operates in this separate role to his colleagues. However, if the plan is eventually to have all three players interchanging positions and linking play, then Lucas is considerably better suited.

However, it could be argued at this point that Bernard would be the best suited of the trio—throwing another option into the equation.

Scolari has some choices to make, but they will surely be delayed until after the Confederations Cup.

For now, Brazil are playing reasonably well and winning. While that continues, there will be no unnecessary tinkering to the lineup, and Lucas must wait his turn. His World Cup 2014 dream, though, still has plenty of time to come to fruition.

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