By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Coach of the Brazil national team, Luiz Felipe Scolari, yesterday confirmed his squad for the friendly against South Africa on March 5th in Johannesburg. The game will be the Seleção’s (national team) final match before Felipão must name his 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup on May 7th.
Fred, Jô and Jefferson, of Fluminense, Atlético-MG and Botafogo, respectively, were added to the sixteen Europe-based players called up two weeks ago. All three have been international regulars under Scolari.
Fred, however, has not played for Brazil since last August after suffering an injury to his right thigh. He was the country’s leading scorer during the 2013 Confederations Cup with five goals.
The striker’s form has suffered since returning from injury. The number nine has scored just one goal this calendar year and has missed two penalties.
Atlético forward Jô received the news of a call-up after finding the back of the net. The 26-year-old scored during his club’s 3-2 win over city rivals América in the Campeonato Mineiro on Sunday. He was the club’s leading scorer during their Copa Libertadores triumph last season. He also scored twice during the Confederations Cup campaign.
After naming his final squad on May 7th, Scolari and Brazil will have two more friendlies before the World Cup kicks off. The Seleção should face Panama in Goiânia on June 3rd before playing Serbia on June 6th at São Paulo’s Morumbi Stadium.
Brazil squad in full for friendly versus South Africa:
Goalkeepers: Júlio César (Toronto), Jefferson (Botafogo)
Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Rafinha (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (PSG), Dante (Bayern Munich), David Luiz (Chelsea), Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Tottenham), Willian (Chelsea), Ramires (Chelsea), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Oscar (Chelsea)
Forwards: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Hulk (Zenit), Fred (Fluminense), Jô (Atlético-MG), Neymar (Barcelona)
Read more (in Portuguese).
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