7 July 2014 07:05
Brazil can overcome the loss of star forward Neymar and beat Germany on their way to FIFA World Cup glory, according to youngster Bernard.
The South American nation was brought to a standstill when team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed Neymar, 22, would miss the remainder of the World Cup with a fractured vertebra sustained during Friday’s 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia.
Neymar had been Brazil’s leading scorer with four goals and his absence was compounded by news that captain Thiago Silva would sit out Tuesday’s semi-final tie in Belo Horizonte after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament.
With Neymar unable to play a part for the remainder of the campaign, many believe Brazil’s quest for a sixth world title is over but 21-year-old forward Bernard – limited to two appearances off the bench during the group stage – has not given up hope.
“It’s natural to come across obstacles, it’s a World Cup,” the Shakhtar Donetsk player told reporters on Sunday.
“We are going to go into this game like we’ve already been going into games looking at the opponents and looking to overcome these barriers with Neymar’s injury.
“And we are going to believe until the end because we know that he have the qualities to be able to pass through to the final after this game against Germany and to be able to be champions.
“So one step at a time we are going to work on things before this game so we can get our main objective, which is to get to the final.”
While Neymar’s injury is a big blow, it has presented some of Brazil’s fringe players with an opportunity to step up in his absence.
Luiz Felipe Scolari is reportedly considering the idea of selecting Bernard in the starting line-up and the former Atletico Mineiro man insists he is ready to handle the pressure should he face Germany, despite playing a total of just 67 minutes at the World Cup thus far.
“Look, the pressure is always going to be there,” he said. “Like I’ve said before, not just me but like any other player we’ve never hoped to be in this situation.
“I had hoped to start in a different way, and especially not with a player like Neymar injured.
“So we have to be calm and mature to overcome this and I think that if an opportunity comes up for anyone, the players are ready in every way to be able to go on and to be able to do their best.
“And of course it’s clear that they know the responsibility of playing in a semi-final in the World Cup and will try to represent the Brazilian squad in the best way possible.”