What is Scolari doing? This £30m Chelsea ace has to start for Brazil

Chelsea inc Willian

Hulk has just not cut it at the World Cup for Brazil. An obvious replacement lies in waiting.

It's job done for Brazil in Group A. Two wins and one draw have sent the Selecao through to the last 16 in first spot, where an interesting matchup with Chile awaits.

Neymar has absolutely shone for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side, while the Brazilians have scored seven goals in two games either side of a 0-0 draw with Mexico.

But it could have gone even better.

  Dribbles WonAccurate CrossesAccurate PassesShots on TargetShot off TargetMins
Neymar 10 4 84 8 1 249
Oscar 8 3 85 3 1 264
Marcelo 7 1 124 0 1 270
Dani Alves 3 1 139 0 1 270
Hulk 1 0 15 1 2 131
Willian 0 0 10 1 1 25

As Opta stats show, Neymar, Oscar, Marcelo and Dani Alves have provided Brazil's main threats going forward so far this World Cup. Between them, Scolari's main men have managed 28 successful dribbles, nine accurate crosses and an abundance of precise passes.

One man who Scolari has insisted on starting, though, has not delivered to anywhere near that standard.

After his poor showing against Croatia, Hulk missed Brazil's clash with Mexico through injury - but returned for their 4-1 win against Cameroon. That the 27-year-old was involved during only the high-scoring games is merely coincidence, however.

Indeed, in 131 minutes of play, Hulk has managed no goals, no assists, no accurate crosses, just one successful dribble and only three shots - two of which went off target. And in terms of accurate passes, the Zenit forward made an embarrassing total of only 15.

After just 25 minutes on-field, Chelsea's Willian has almost matched that tally, also equalling Hulk's shy count of one shot on target.

Why, then, does Scolari not give Willian the freedom to roam for Brazil against Chile?

  TeamGoalsAssistsDribbles Won/ appAccurate Cross / appMins
Willian Chelsea 4 2 1.52 1.52 1,677

As the 25-year-old's Premier League stats show, there have been few performances for Chelsea as anonymous as those Hulk is currently producing for Brazil. Willian scored four times and registered two assists in his debut season in England and averaged at least one accurate cross per game, as well as one successful dribble.

Willian is ready to perform. Scolari just needs to use him.

If he does, imagine how ferocious Brazil could be going forward - they could end up scoring six at a time.

And as the tournament progresses, maximising every position in that starting XI may be the difference between a historic sixth World Cup triumph, or a forgettable anti-climax for a football-worshipping nation.

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