Hernanes replaces Paulinho for Italy showdown

Updated: Jun 22, 2013, 14:04 PM IST

Salvador (Brazil): Lazio midfielder Hernanes is set to replace injured Corinthians star Paulinho in Brazil`s starting line-up against Italy here Saturday.

Paulinho rolled his ankle Wednesday in Brazil`s 2-0 victory over Mexico and was Friday ruled out of the final Group A clash at the Arena Fonte Nova.

"I am ready to start and hopefully I can contribute positively to the team," Hernanes said.

"Paulinho projects himself as much as possible and is always in and around the area. He is a burst player whereas I prefer to have the ball at my feet to create and begin our attacking moves."

Hernanes, who has spent the past three seasons at Lazio, admits his knowledge of Italian football could prove helpful against the Azzurri.

"Maybe the fact that I play there will give me a small advantage," the 28-year-old former Sao Paulo player said.

"It`s a big match between two traditionally strong football nations. Brazil against Italy is always something special with lots of emotion and this time will be no exception. There is also top spot in the group at stake."