Brazil midfielder Willian was widely regarded as the man to fill Neymar's spot in the starting XI against Germany in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday, but now the host country might have to look elsewhere for his replacement.
Joe Strange of the Daily Mail reports that Willian was forced to leave training early on Sunday: "...the 25-year-old was forced to miss some of Luiz Felipe Scolari's session after appearing to damage his back at the Granja Comary training centre in Teresopolis."
The injury comes as quite a blow to an already shorthanded Brazil, as there were high expectations around Willian to replace Neymar. Thiago Silva was very confident in Willian, via Strange: "I'm sure we have good spare parts. I believe very much in Willian, who has almost the same features as Neymar and believe in this moment he will fill the gap very well."
Prior to Willian's injury, Mesut Ozil took to Twitter to express his disappointment in Neymar being unable to participate in the remainder of the tournament:
Neymar, i am unhappy. get well soon.— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) July 5, 2014
With Willian potentially on the shelf for Brazil's clash with Germany, it is unknown who Scolari will turn to. Bernard likely emerges as the favorite if Willian is unable to play.
Neymar's position catered to his creativity on the pitch. Because neither Willian nor Bernard are capable of that play, Scolari will need to shore up elsewhere.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR