By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Seleção coach Luiz Felipe Scolari named his 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup yesterday in Rio de Janeiro. The list retains the core of those who helped Brazil lift the Confederations Cup last year, but excludes veterans Ronaldinho Gaúcho or Kaká.
Seventeen of the 23 that were called up for last year’s dress rehearsal have been retained, including two players at Carioca clubs. Fred and Jefferson, from Fluminense and Botafogo, respectively, will be with the national side as they attempt to lift Brazil’s sixth World Cup trophy next month.
The squad announcement was largely expected since Brazil have been in such excellent form over the past twelve months. The side have won twelve of their last thirteen matches, including six in a row.
The only surprise inclusion was that of Napoli central defender Henrique. Réver, Dedé, Miranda and Marquinhos had all been thought to be ahead of the former Palmeiras zagueiro (defender) in Felipão’s pecking order.
His international career thus far is short, having played only 71 minutes for the Seleção. Nevertheless, he worked under Scolari whilst at Palmeiras and the pair know each other well.
Brazil are amongst the favorites to win the World Cup, alongside fellow South Americans Argentina, world and European champions Spain and Germany. The players are due to meet up in Rio de Janeiro on May 26th before playing friendlies against Panama and Serbia on June 3rd and June 6th.
The hosts kick off their World Cup campaign against Croatia on June 12th at the Arena Corinthians in São Paulo. They also face Mexico and Cameroon in Group A.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.