Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Led by Neymar - Brazilian Copa América squad

Nearly a month before the official deadline by the South American football federation CONMEBOL, Brazil have released their 23 men squad for the upcoming Copa América. It includes the names that were expected for the most part. Captain Neymar from Barcelona leads the way for a relatively old, but still unexperienced squad, who’s average age is 26.5. Santos striker Robinho has the most caps with 96, and will possibly reach the 100 mark in a quarter final game. You will probably still remember his first steps in Europe like I do, but he is already 31 years old as well.

The defensive cornerstone of the team remains Thiago Silva. The PSG centre back got stripped of the captaincy after the World Cup by coach Dunga, but is the best player Brazil has got on the back end. There is a lot of choice for the position next to him with both his PSG colleagues David Luiz and Marquinhos, but if I were to predict today, Miranda gets to start next to him. There is enough quality on the fullback positions in Danilo and Fabinho (right), as well as Marcelo and Luís (left).

A problem zone is the midfield. It used to be one of their biggest strengths, but if you take a look at it now, there is not much to amaze you. Luiz Gustavo, the best defensive midfielder on the team, strictly destroys the opposition game. The biggest promise might be Philippe Coutinho. Liverpool’s offensive midfielder has great vision and just as much technical abilities. If Brazil goes far, he will be a key factor. Some of the other players had up and down seasons, and I will leave it up to you to judge whether the UAE league challenges a player like Everton Ribeiro in his prime as a footballer (26).

The guy who always makes up for a lot of his teammates weaknesses by simply scoring a lot of goals is, you knew it, Neymar. 43 goals in 62 games is an incredibly impressive record for the young striker. He is used to carrying all the pressure by himself, as he experienced the maximum of it at home in 2014. It will be a relief that this Copa América is being played away from home in Chile. His support crew up front lies in the aforementioned Robinho, Diego Tardelli, who ears his money in China these days, and Roberto Firmino. Firmino had a very good season in Germany and, while being chased by European heavy weights, might surprise a few people by featuring in Brazil’s starting XI. Because he is a player one can compare to Coutinho, the question will be whether Dunga wants them both on the pitch at the same time.


Two of the Brazilian Copa América key factors: Neymar (l.) and Philippe Coutinho (r.).

Of course a lot can still happen in the last month of football around the world, so if there will be any injuries, the face of the team might still change a little (what we obviously do not hope for).

Here is the full squad:

Goalkeepers: Jefferson (Botafogo), Diego Alves (Valencia), Marcelo Grohe (Grêmio).

Defenders: Thiago Silva, David Luiz (both PSG), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Miranda (Atlético Madrid), Danilo (Porto), Filipe Luís (Chelsea), Marquinhos (PSG), Fabinho (Monaco).

Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Willian (Chelsea), Elias (Corinthians), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Casemiro (Porto), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Douglas Costa (Shakhtar Donetsk), Everton Ribeiro (Al-Ahli).

Strikers: Robinho (Santos), Neymar (Barcelona), Diego Tardelli (Shandong Luneng), Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim).


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