Brazil’s national team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has announced his squad for the FIFA World Cup 2014 and it throws a surprise as expected.
Brazil has not played in a competitive match for almost 12 months, but Scolari has had a good opportunity to look at his squad over the course of several friendly matches. Prior to the announcement, the inclusion of players like Kaka and Philippe Coutinho has been a huge talking point.
Kaka is now one of the veterans of the Brazil squad, but he is also one of the few players from the 2002 squad still competing at the top level. The attacking midfielder moved back to AC Milan from Real Madrid and he is widely believed to have been done with the World Cup in mind. However, he will be one of high-profile absentees, as Scolari has omitted the 32-year-old from the squad. Kaka has been a first-team regular for Milan this season. He has scored seven goals in 28 league matches for the club.
However, he played a total of just 106 minutes for the national team in 2013. They came in the two matches against Italy and Russia. Scolari is thought to be not happy with what he saw from the Brazilian in these matches. As a former FIFA World Player of the Year award recipient, Kaka was expected to be in the squad just to provide experience.
This Brazil squad features a lot of youngsters and players representing the national team in a World Cup for the first time. This includes the likes of Neymar and Oscar. After having played in three major World Cups and countless other important matches over the last decade, Kaka’s experience would have been invaluable. It seems that Scolari has favored form and youthful vibrancy over experience for this World Cup.
The eyes of the world will undoubtedly be on striker Neymar, who will be taking part in his first World Cup. It was widely expected that Neymar would move to Europe only after the end of this World Cup, but the 22-year-old moved to Barcelona last summer in order to have the experience of playing against some of the best players in the world as preparation for the World Cup.
His first season has been termed as mediocre by several critics, but Neymar will be hoping to apply the experience of European football at the World Cup.
The forward has been in spectacular scoring form in the last few months for the national team. He certainly proved during the Confederations Cup that he is capable of producing the goods against of defenders. Neymar scored four goals in 413 minutes of action during the Confederations Cup, which Brazil won it in style.
In the only match that he has played for the national team in 2014, he scored a hat-trick against South Africa, but Neymar is sure to face much better opposition at the World Cup.
There have also been last-minute disappointments for some players simply because they have not performed well when called upon for the national teams or because of the intense competition. Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho and Paris St Germain attacker Lucas Moura are those players. Coutinho has performed exceptionally well throughout the season for Liverpool, but he plays in a position where Scolari has a lot of options. This is also the case with Moura, who finally appears to be getting into form in the second half of the season with the French outfit.
Brazil will be hoping to come unscathed in the group stages. They will face Cameroon, Mexico and Croatia in the group stages.