In our Brazil preview, we look ahead to this summer’s Copa America Centenario tournament to predict Brazil’s chances, to take a closer look at their squad as well as to review the team’s games in the Group Stage of the competition.
Brazil preview: Squad:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alisson (Internacional, BRA), Diego Alves (Valencia, ESP), Marcelo Grohe (Gremio, BRA)
DEFENDERS (8): Dani Alves (Barcelona, ESP), Rodrigo Caio (São Paulo, BRA), Fabinho (Monaco, FRA), Gil (Shandong Luneng, CHN), Filípe Luís (Atlético Madrid, ESP), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), Miranda (Inter Milan, ITA), Douglas (Atlético Mineiro, BRA)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan, CHN), Casemiro (Real Madrid, ESP), Ganso (São Paulo, BRA), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool, ENG), Elias (Corinthians, BRA), Walace (Gremio, BRA), Lucas Lima (Santos, BRA), Lucas (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), Willian (Chelsea, ENG)
FORWARDS (3): Gabriel (Santos, BRA), Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg, RUS), Jonas (Benfica, POR)
Brazil preview: Overview:
It’s going to be fascinating to see just how Brazil approach this one-off tournament, with the nation’s sporting focus trained elsewhere this summer.
Indeed, the 2016 Olympics will be staged in Rio de Janeiro in August and while soccer is not most closely associated with the games, it’s a competition which the Selecao take very seriously. And that’s something which has been reflected in the squad named by Dunga for the Centenario, which has a few glaring omissions.
The most notable of which is team captain Neymar, immediately implying that a gold medal in the Olympics—which the Barcelona man will play in—is the main priority this summer. Additionally, the Paris Saint-Germain duo of David Luiz and Thiago Silva have also been left out, as has Real Madrid left-back Marcelo; it’s unclear whether any of those will feature in Rio.
While this lack of experience and quality will be a hindrance to Brazil, it gives the squad for this tournament a refreshing feel and a chance for some players who have been on the fringes of the national team set-up to make a mark at the Centenario. Attackers like Willian, Douglas Costa and Roberto Firmino, who have all enjoyed strong seasons, will be keen to assume the role of talisman.
The squad will also want to make amends after their disappointing showing in the competition last year. A loss to Colombia, in which Neymar was sent off, seemed to sap the life out of these players, who went on to lose to Paraguay on penalties in the quarter-final. Looking at their opponents in the group stages, there’s no excuse for not replicating that showing, at least.