No Kaka or Robinho in Brazil’s Fifa World Cup squad

Luiz Felipe Scolari goes for balance between youth and experience in selection the home team.
Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Brazil coach, concedes his team does not have the experience to deal with 'certain World Cup situations'. Buda Mendes / Getty Images
Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Brazil coach, concedes his team does not have the experience to deal with 'certain World Cup situations'. Buda Mendes / Getty Images

SAO PAULO // Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari announced his Fifa World Cup squad on Wednesday without any major surprises.

Scolari’s 23-name list includes 16 players who were in the team that won last year’s Fifa Confederations Cup by beating world champions Spain in the warm-up tournament’s 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.

“We know that not everybody will agree with all the names, it’s normal,” Scolari said. “But now that we have the 23 players, we would like to ask that our fans support all of them so together we can focus on our goal of winning the World Cup.”

The squad announcement was a high-profile event in Brazil, with television stations juggling their programming to broadcast it live. More than 700 journalists, many from abroad, were accredited for the event at a traditional concert house in Rio de Janeiro. Kaka and Robinho, Brazil’s star names at the 2010 World Cup, still had hopes of playing in the tournament at home but were left off the list, as were former AC Milan forward Alexandre Pato and Ronaldinho, 34, the 2002 World Cup winner who missed out on his chance of making it to one last finals.

Only five players from this year’s list were in the 2010 tournament – Julio Cesar, Silva, Alves, Maicon and Ramires. Striker Fred did not make it to South Africa but was in the squad for the 2006 tournament in Germany.

“I don’t think this lack of World Cup experience will play a big part,” Scolari said. “Our players have been gaining experience in their leagues in Europe and I don’t think they will be affected by this too much, although, in certain World Cup situations, having that experience would be important. But I fully trust these players.”

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 in 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 coming days.

Brazil’s starting 11 in the World Cup will likely be the same that played in the Confederations Cup. Brazil have won 13 of their last 14 matches, the only loss coming in a friendly against Switzerland.

“It’s important that today everybody can name most of the Brazilian starters,” Scolari said. “We can’t know for sure if we will use exactly the same team, it will depend on how these players will show up, but nine or 10 are certain to be in the starting line-up again.”

Scolari’s squad will be led by the Barcelona striker Neymar, 22, the player carrying most of the fans’ hopes. The defence will have Silva alongside Luiz, with Alves on the right flank and Marcelo on the left. Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo will protect the defence from the base of midfield, 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.

It was a mistake by Cesar that played a role in Brazil’s loss to the Netherlands in the 2010 quarter-finals.

Brazil also were eliminated in the quarter-finals in 2006 in Germany, losing to France. This year, Brazil are in Group A with Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon. The World Cup hosts will open against Croatia on June 12 in Sao Paulo.

sports@thenational.ae

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Published: May 8, 2014 04:00 AM

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