Brazil Football: Stars with a Point to Prove Against Switzerland on Wednesday

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor IAugust 12, 2013

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

Brazil's Confederations Cup-winning squad meet up this week to take on Switzerland in Basel on Wednesday, and many team members will do so with the knowledge that their individual places at the World Cup next year are still far from secure.

While the side's triumph earlier this summer was a magnificent achievement, coming off the back of a poor run of form, there is no doubting that there were still some areas for the side to work on in the coming season.

Let's take a look at some players with a point to prove on Wednesday night.

Hulk 

Looking at the squad list, the player with the most questions to answer this week is Zenit forward Hulk, who will likely play from the right of the Brazil attack.

The former Porto man faced intense criticism during the Confederations Cup, with his displays often lacking impact in comparison with attacking colleagues Neymar, Oscar and Fred.

There should be no doubting that Hulk played his part in the tournament win, but it was a more subdued role than he would have hoped. Given his value and reputation, the supporters expect more from him.

For Hulk, there is a further problem to contend with. In reserve, Brazil have two highly rated young forward players—Lucas Moura and Bernard.

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While Bernard may not be naturally right-sided, Lucas is an ideal candidate for a role on that flank. Hulk will be aware of his colleague's popularity in the media and platform to impress at Paris Saint-Germain.

Lucas Moura

Lucas still has much to prove. The 20-year-old has had plenty of opportunities to shine with Brazil, but he has not yet shown that he is ready to take on a starring role at an international level.

Throughout his career, Lucas has received a lot of media attention. His performances for long periods at Sao Paulo, though, did not always match his reputation.

However, his final six months at the club were outstanding, and he has started life well in Paris. He has yet to make a significant impact in Ligue 1, but he has shown enough to suggest his future could be very bright indeed.

For the national side, though, he has rarely influenced a match in 27 international appearances. He has scored four goals for his country, but just one has come against a meaningful opponent—France. By the end of the Confederations Cup, he also found himself behind Bernard in the pecking order.

Lucas is a potentially wonderful player—that is undoubted. At present, though, he is not performing consistently enough to secure a place in the side, even despite Hulk's indifferent form.

Fernando

It will be interesting to see if Fernando is handed his chance to impress on Wednesday, with Bayern's Luiz Gustavo currently in the middle of finalising a possible transfer to Arsenal, according to The Guardian.

While Brazil's midfield functioned perfectly in the final against Spain, the early stages of the Confederations Cup were marked by dysfunctional midfield displays from the Selecao.

While Gustavo and Paulinho are both fine players, neither are particularly dextrous passers of a football and, as a consequence, Brazil often came off second-best in midfield areas.

Tottenham's Sandro, who is currently returning to full fitness after a cruciate ligament injury, may well be the ideal long-term alternative. For the moment, though, it would be no surprise to see Shakhtar's Fernando given a further opportunity as the team's anchor.

The former Grêmio man is not a natural anchor, but he has performed well there for both the Selecao and the Under-20 side.

His intelligence and range of passing allow him to play the role with aplomb, and he did not look out of place in friendly encounters against Italy and Russia.

It is an option manager Luiz Felipe Scolari may want to explore further, especially if Gustavo is caught up in transfer bluster.