Brazil picks Fernandinho for World Cup warmup
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL (BDCi) — Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho was a surprise inclusion when Brazil named their squad Tuesday for the World Cup warmup in South Africa next month.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari’s selections were quite interesting as for who was left off as much as for who was selected.
Former regulars Robinho, Kaka, Lucas Leiva, Hernanes and Maicon were among the absentees and Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho was also overlooked.
The 28-year-old Fernandinho featured under former coach Mano Menezes was recalled by Scolari for the final friendly before he announces his 23 man World Cup squad on May 7.
“Fernandinho is playing well and this is an opportunity for him,” Scolari told reporters.
The squad of 16 includes four from Chelsea plus Bayern Munich pair Rafinha and Dante.
Scolari plans to take 18 or 19 players for the March 5 friendly to Johannesburg due to the travel involved and the short time they will spend in the country.
“We are going to arrive at midnight on the Monday, we will train on Tuesday and play Wednesday, so what’s the point of taking 22 players,”said the coach.
Scolari will announced the additional Brazil-based players, including a goalkeeper and two strikers by February 24.
He warned reporters not to read too much into his selections as there is still time for players to impress him ahead of the World Cup.
“I am always observing, there might still be another surprise in the final squad,” said Scolari. “We can never be sure that the ones we are going to choose will be in the optimum condition when it comes time to choose our final squad.”
Brazil, hosting the World Cup for the first time since 1950, open World Cup play against Croatia on June 12. Mexico and Cameroon are the other teams in Group A.
Goalkeeper: Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers)
Defenders: David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Paris St. Germain), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Rafinha (Bayern Munich).
Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (VfL Wolfsburg), Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Ramires (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea).
Forwards: Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg), Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Neymar (Barcelona).