By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Seleção (Brazilian national team) coach Carlos Dunga has announced his squad for the upcoming friendly games against France and Chile, the last games before the Copa America. The call-up of players had no major surprises, as all team members named had played under the coach before.
The players called up by Dunga on March 5th will dispute two friendly games, the first against France in Paris on March 26th and the second in London on March 29th against Chile. These are the last games before the Copa America, the South American championship in June, where Brazil is in group C and will face Peru, Colombia and Venezuela.
Diego Tardelli, who had recently moved from Atlético-MG to Shandong Luneng, remained in Dunga’s squad, even though doubts about the quality of the Chinese championship had arisen. Tardelli had been in the starting eleven in the first four games under coach Dunga and had scored two goals.
The other two players who had transferred to less traditional football (soccer) markets Éverton Ribeiro (Al Ahli ) and Ricardo Goulart (Guangzhou Evergrande) were no longer included in the squad.
“The situation is unique; some players are still in the pre-season. Therefore it is normal that one or the other player is not in top condition. We opted for an athlete who was among the starting eleven and had been playing with the national team. This reduced the risk of bringing players that are not in top physical condition,” Dunga explained his choice.
Returning to the team will be Marcelo from Real Madrid and Robinho from Santos. Next to Robinho, four other players from the Brazilian championship were named as well: Elias (Corinthians), Jefferson (Botafogo), Marcelo Grohe (Grêmio) and Souza (São Paulo).
Since Dunga has taken over the Brazilian national team after the World Cup in 2014, he remains unbeaten in six games with fourteen goals scored and just one conceded. Half of the goals were scored by Neymar, Diego Tardelli and Willian scored two each and David Luiz and Roberto Firmino marked one, while another one was an owngoal by Turkish player Kaya.
Goalkeepers: Jefferson (Botafogo), Marcelo Grohe (Grêmio), Diego Alves (Valencia)
Center backs: David Luiz (PSG), Marquinhos (PSG), Thiago Silva (PSG), Miranda (Atlético de Madrid)
Fullbacks: Fabinho (Monaco), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Filipe Luis (Chelsea), Danilo (Porto)
Wingers: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Elias (Corinthians), Souza (São Paulo)
Midfielders: Oscar (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea), Douglas Costa (Shakhtar Donetsk), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Strikers: Neymar (Barcelona), Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim), Diego Tardelli (Shandong Luneng), Robinho (Santos)