Coutinho rejoins Brazil for World Cup qualifiers


Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho got the call-up from Brazil coach Tite on Friday after a year-long absence for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Argentina.

Coutinho, 29, was sidelined by a knee injury, but has recently resumed playing regularly with Barca.

“He’s a midfielder who creates plays, a great player regaining his form,” Tite told a press conference, announcing his squad.

Tite did not however recall 21-year-old Vinicius Junior, despite a sizzling start to the season at Real Madrid.

The coach also left out Richarlison, whose season is off to an injury-troubled start at Everton.

Neymar will lead Brazil’s attack. 

The 29-year-old superstar will be looking to turn around a disappointing start to the season, including a lackluster performance in Brazil’s 0-0 draw against Colombia on October 10.

“Ney” did however shine in Brazil’s 4-1 thrashing of Uruguay on October 14.

Brazil lead the South American qualifiers with 10 wins from 11 matches, and are on the cusp of booking their tickets to Qatar.

They will face Colombia on November 11 in Sao Paulo, before facing Argentina away on November 16, looking to avenge their humiliating 1-0 loss in the Copa America final on home turf in July.

Brazil squad for November World Cup qualifiers:

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool/ENG), Emerson (Manchester City/ENG), Gabriel Chapeco (Gremio)

Defenders: Danilo (Juventus/ITA), Emerson Royal (Tottenham/ENG), Alex Sandro (Juventus/ITA), Renan Lodi (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Eder Militao (Real Madrid/ESP), Lucas Verissimo (Benfica/POR), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Thiago Silva (Chelsea/ENG)

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid/ESP), Fred (Manchester United/ENG), Fabinho (Liverpool/ENG), Gerson (Marseille/FRA), Lucas Paqueta (Lyon/FRA), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona/ESP)

Forwards: Antony (Ajax/HOL), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool/ENG), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City/ENG), Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Raphinha (Leeds United/ENG)

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