Neymar, Costa star in Brazil Olympic football lineup


Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Strikers Neymar and Douglas Costa head a young Brazil Olympic football squad looking to bounce back from humiliation in the Copa America Centenario, stand-in coach Rogerio Micale announced Wednesday.

On home soil in next month’s Games in Rio two years after their devastating 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany, Brazil are bidding to add Olympic gold to their three silver medals, two bronze and five World Cup titles.

Barcelona’s Neymar, Costa of Bayern Munich and goalkeeper Fernando Prass, 37, are the only players aged over 23 in the squad.

It is Prass’s first international call-up. Micale hailed his “leadership profile” and the “excellent season” he has had as captain of Palmeiras.

The Spanish champions allowed Neymar, 24, to play in the Olympics but not this month’s Copa America, in which Brazil were knocked out at the group stage.

“Neymar is different. He is one of the best players in the world. Any national team would want to have a player of his profile,” Micale told a news conference.

“He will mean a lot for the team. I hope he will be able to help the younger players.”

The Copa humiliation got coach Dunga fired. Corinthians boss Tite was named to replace him, but Micale will lead the team at the Olympics before Tite takes over.

Micale selected Paris Saint Germain defender Marquinhos but chose to drop his PSG teammate Thiago Silva.

Brazil face South Africa, Iraq and Denmark in the group stage at the Olympics, which run from August 5 to 21.

Brazil squad for 2016 Olympics:

Goalkeepers: Fernando Prass (Palmeiras), Uilson (Atletico Mineiro)

Defenders: Luan (Vasco), Rodrigo Caio (Sao Paulo), Marquinhos (Paris SG/FRA), Douglas Santos (Atletico Mineiro), William (Internacional), Zeca (Santos)

Midfielders: Rafinha (Barcelona/ESP), Rodrigo Dourado (Internacional), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Thiago Maia (Santos), Felipe Anderson (Lazio/ITA)

Strikers: Neymar (Barcelona/ESP), Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich/GER), Gabriel Barbosa (Santos), Gabriel Jesus (Palmeiras), Luan (Gremio)

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