Brazil midfielder Willian insists that he will be fit to play in the FIFA World Cup™ semi-final against Germany despite picking up a knock in training.
"I am feeling great. I was hurt on my left side in training yesterday (Saturday) and it bothers me a bit but it is nothing significant and it won't stop me training today," the 25-year-old Chelsea player said in a press conference at Brazil's base in Teresopolis.
Willian is a leading contender to replace the injured Neymar in the Brazil team for the game in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday but was forced to withdraw early from training on Saturday after appearing to hurt himself in a challenge with Hernanes.
"Neymar sets the standard for us. He is capable of deciding any game, so playing without him will be difficult," said Willian. "We know the quality that we have. We are all very sad at losing him but we are now even stronger after what happened and we can continue to pursue our dream."
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari could also opt to hand a first start in the competition to the diminutive winger Bernard, of Shakhtar Donetsk. "We were all very sad at the situation and also because Neymar was very sad. Of course the whole group has felt his loss," said the 21-year-old Bernard.
"He is a big loss not just as a player but also as a person. He is always smiling and saying positive things. But we have to be calm and overcome it. We know that we have other players who will be able to replace him."
As well as Neymar, who faces six weeks on the sidelines with a fractured vertebrae and has returned home to begin his recovery, captain Thiago Silva is set to miss the match at the Mineirao Stadium due to suspension. Influential midfielder Luiz Gustavo will return to the side after serving a one-match ban against Colombia.