Luiz Felipe Scolari announces squad for World Cup
SAO PAULO,BRAZIL (BDCi) — Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari announced his World Cup squad on Wednesday without any major surprises, choosing most of the players who won last year’s Confederation’s Cup.
Scolari’s 23-man list includes 16 players who were on the team that won last year’s warm up tournament after defeating Spain in the final.
The team will mix talented young stars such as Neymar and Oscar with more experienced players such as Dani Alves, David Luiz, Thiago Silva and Hulk.
Past stars such as Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho were left off the squad as expected.
Kaka and Robinho who were the stars of the 2010 World Cup, still had hopes of making the tournament at home but were left off. Also left off was former AC Milan forward Alexandre Pato and 34-year-old Ronaldinho, the 2002 world champion who missed out on a chance at one last World Cup.
Only five players from this year’s list were in the 2010 tournament — Julio Cesar, Silva, Alves, Maicon and Ramires. Fred didn’t make it to South Africa but was on the squad for the 2006 tournament in Germany.
Scolari had already confirmed nine players on the squad — Luiz, Oscar, Ramires, Willian, Paulinho, Cesar, Silva, Fred and Neymar. He said there were only two spots remaining on the team, with the doubts related to the third goalkeeper and the fourth central defender, positions that were filled by Atletico Mineiro goalkeeper Victor and Napoli defender Henrique.
Seven alternates will be announced in the next few days.
Brazil’s starting 11 in the World Cup will likely be the same that played in the Confederations Cup. Brazil has won 13 of its last 14 matches, the only loss coming in a friendly against Switzerland after the warm up tournament.
Scolari’s revamped squad is not filled with stars as in previous tournaments, but he managed to put together a squad that mixes talent and competitiveness. The team will be led by 22-year-old Barcelona striker Neymar, the player carrying most of the fans hopes.
The defense will have Silva alongside Luiz with Alves on the right flank and Marcelo on the left. Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo will protect the defense and Oscar will feed the attack that also has Hulk and Fred.
Scolari has already said that the starting goalkeeper will be Cesar, who is playing for Toronto FC in Major League Soccer. Cesar’s mistake played a role in Brazil’s loss to the Netherlands in the 2010 quarterfinals. Brazil also was eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2006 in Germany, losing to France.
This year, Brazil is in Group A along with Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon. Brazil will open against Croatia on June 12 in Sao Paulo.
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Atletico Mineiro)
Defenders: David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Paris St. Germain), Henrique (Napoli), Maicon (Roma), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Maxwell (Paris St. Germain)
Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Paulinho (Tottenham), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Ramires (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea), Hernanes (Inter Milan)
Strikers: Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg), Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Neymar (Barcelona), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Fred (Fluminense)