Rio de Janeiro, March 4 (IANS) Brazil’s football team head coach Dunga has announced a 23-member squad for the upcoming matches against Uruguay and Paraguay in the South America Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Gil and Renato Augusto have been included among the teamlist. In the last months, the two players have transferred to Chinese soccer clubs, Shandong Luneng and Beijing Guoan, respectively, reports Xinhua.
“People can’t forget that recently these players have performed very well,” the coach said during a news conference.
However, even though Dunga said it would be “unfair” to rule out the players just because they went to a less competitive league, he said the two players would have to do “something more” than their Brazilian teammates who play in higher leagues such as Europe to prove that they can still play high level soccer.
The coach has decided to stick with the majority of the team who played in Brazil’s last matches in November where they drew against Argentina in Buenos Aires and defeated Peru in Salvador. A total of 19 players from those two matches have been called upon for the upcoming matches.
The new additions were goalkeepers Diego Alves (Valencia CF, Spain) and Marcelo Grohe (Gremio, Brazil), left back Alex Sandro (Juventus, Italy) and midfielder Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool, England). These players will take the positions of Cassio (Corinthians, Brazil), Jefferson (Botafogo, Brazil) and injured Marcelo (Real Madrid, Spain) and Elias (Corinthians).
The coach has kept veterans like Kaka (Orlando City, the United States) and Ricardo Oliveira (Santos FC, Brazil) in the squad as his strategy is to mix “young, medium-experienced and more experienced players”.
Brazil will face Uruguay in the Pernambuco Arena, in Recife, on March 25 and then the team will visit Paraguay, in the Defensores del Chaco Stadium in Asuncion, on March 29.
Currently Brazil have seven points which puts them in third place in the South American qualifiers, behind Venezuela and Peru.