Includes nine forwards
Anyone hoping there was some way Brazil might put out a lacklustre team for the World Cup in Qatar this month will be sorely disappointed by the announcement of the squad last Monday.
Head Coach Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, known as Tite, has named no fewer than nine forwards in his 26-man squad, highlighting not only his breadth of options up front, but also giving an indication as to the sort of high-pressing, attacking strategy we can expect to see from the World Cup’s most successful team at this year’s tournament in Qatar.
“We’re one of the favourites,” Tite told reporters in Rio on Monday.
Neymar, a veteran of the Brazil team despite being only 30, finds himself at the tip of Brazil’s attack, with the support of youngsters such as Vinicius Jr, Gabriel Martinelli and Rodrygo.
Dani Alves, the 39-year-old former Barcelona right back, was also included in the list, which features eight defenders and six midfielders, despite not playing a competitive match in two months.
Alves will be the oldest player ever named in a Brazilian World Cup squad, but his long history with the national side and changing room leadership were not the main reasons he got a spot in the squad, Tite said.
“He adds technical and tactical aspects that are impressive, to be an organiser, an articulator,” the coach said.
Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has been left out of the squad. Aston Villa attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho will also be bitterly disappointed after a thigh injury in weekend training will see him sidelined for several weeks.
Brazil will take four centre backs – Juventus’s Bremer, Paris Saint-Germain’s Marquinhos, Chelsea’s Thiago Silva and Real Madrid’s Eder Militao, while leaving out Roger Ibanez of Roma, Lucas Verissimo of Benfica and Gabriel Magalhaes, whose goal at the weekend put Arsenal back at the top of the English Premier League.
The Brazilian FA also announced that former PSG manager Ricardo Gomes will join Tite’s staff as an assistant.
The squad and Tite will gather on November 14 at Juventus’s training facilities in Turin, where Brazil will hold a five-day training camp before flying to Doha on November 19.
Brazil will play in Group G, with Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon. Serbia and Switzerland also had the misfortune to be in Brazil’s group four years ago in Russia, when the Brazilians lost to Belgium in the quarter-finals. Brazil’s World Cup campaign in Qatar begins against Serbia on November 24.
The 61-year-old Tite, whose childhood mentor Luiz Felipe Scolari led Brazil to their most recent World Cup win 20 years ago, has already announced he will step down after this tournament after six years in charge of Brazil.
The Brazil squad in full
Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras).
Defenders: Dani Alves (Pumas); Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain); Thiago Silva (Chelsea); Eder Militao (Real Madrid); Danilo (Juventus); Alex Sandro (Juventus); Alex Telles (Sevilla), Bremer (Juventus).
Midfielders: Casemiro (Manchester United); Fred (Manchester United); Fabinho (Liverpool); Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle); Lucas Paqueta (West Ham); Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo).
Forwards: Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain); Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid), Richarlison (Tottenham); Raphinha (Barcelona); Antony (Manchester United); Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal); Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal); Pedro (Flamengo); Rodrygo (Real Madrid).