Originally featured on the TalkingTikiTaka – WC2014 Blog
As news filtered through regarding who has and hasn’t made the final cut for several of the competitors in this year’s World Cup, Brazil have been sitting pretty, comfortably watching and waiting for their rivals announcements to filter through as they gear up for this years tournament on home soil. Nearly a week earlier than most national team announcements, Scolari announced his 23 man squad and the big story to come out of it was undoubtedly his decision to trust in much younger options rather than sticking with the likes of Robinho, Ronaldinho and Kaka who are more than experienced on the international stage. Inevitably with a much younger side comes a hunger, a desire and a fearless attitude which may have been something some of the more experienced Brazilian nationals had been lacking in recent years. However with the risk of fielding a side with very few caps between them when compared to the likes of Robinho, Kaka and Ronaldinho, there is always the question of whether the likes of Oscar, Neymar and Fernandinho are a little too inexperienced for a tournament the size of the World Cup. Ultimately, the squad announcement is a brave move by Scolari and only time will tell as to whether it pays off or whether it ends in early disappointment for a team with so much expectation and pressure on home soil.
Surprisingly for some, Atletico Madrid’s Joao Miranda and Cruziero’s centre back Vital Dede miss out to Napoli central defender Henrique who is the preferred central defensive option whilst Liverpool attacking midfielder Coutinho also misses out on being included despite a strong season with Premier League runners up Liverpool. Fernandinho is one of a number of Brazilian players based in the Premier League who earn a call up, with the likes of Willian, Paulinho, Oscar and Ramires joining him on the plane to their native Brazil. Thiago Silva and Maxwell, both of Paris Saint Germain, are just two of nine defenders Scolari will hope can provide stability at the back as Brazil aim to unleash their unquestionable and exciting attacking players on fellow group competitors Mexico, Cameroon and Croatia. Brazil will face both Panama and Serbia before they begin their World Cup campaign against Croatia on June 12.
Brazil’s 23 man World Cup Squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Jefferson (Botafogo), Julio Cesar (Toronto FC), Victor (Atlético MG).
Defenders: Dante (Bayern Munich), David Luiz (Chelsea), Henrique (Napoli), Thiago Silva (PSG), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (Roma), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Maxwell (PSG).
Midfielders: Fernandinho (Manchester City), Hernanes (Inter), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Oscar (Chelsea), Paulinho (Tottenham), Ramires (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea).
Forwards: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Fred (Fluminense) Hulk (Zenit), Jo (Atletico MG), Neymar (Barcelona).
Brazil standby list: Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Alan Kardec (Sao Paulo), Lucas Moura (PSG), Rafinha (Bayern Munchen), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Miranda (Atletico Madrid), Diego Cavalieri (Fluminense).