FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil striker Hulk missed training again and remains doubtful for the team’s World Cup match against Mexico on Tuesday.
The Brazilian football federation said no serious injury was detected in an MRI scan on Monday, but the player did not join the rest of the squad for training at the Arena Castelao, where Brazil plays its second World Cup match.
The federation said a decision on whether Hulk can play will only be made on Tuesday after doctors re-evaluate his condition.
“We will look at how the whole situation develops and then we can make an evaluation before the match,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said.
Hulk left the field less than 15 minutes into Sunday’s practice session in Brazil’s training camp in Rio de Janeiro. He said he has had the injury since before the opening Group A win against Croatia, when he was substituted late in the second half, but expected to play against the Mexicans despite the “discomfort.”
“If he can’t play we lose something because this team has been playing together for a long time with this same system,” Scolari said.
Brazil has been playing with virtually the same starting lineup since last year’s Confederations Cup, the World Cup warm-up tournament it convincingly won at home. Scolari says that’s a big reason for the team’s recent success, which includes 16 wins in its last 17 matches.
If Hulk is sidelined, Scolari will probably chose between Chelsea midfielder Ramires and 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk striker Bernard.
“If it happens that he can’t play, it will be a big setback for us,” Brazil captain Thiago Silva said. “It’s always sad to lose someone because of an injury. But Felipao picked 23 players who can play at any time so he can choose a substitute with his eyes closed.”
The coach said he wouldn’t have “a problem at all” finding a replacement for Hulk if the Zenit striker isn’t fit to play.
“In my opinion I did a good job picking the players for my squad,” he said.
Follow Tales Azzoni on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tazzoni
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.