Scolari drops veterans

Scolari drops veterans
Football - Brazil Training - The Hive, London - 5/2/13 Brazil's Ronaldinho (L) and coach Luiz Felipe Scolari during training.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari yesterday unveiled the 23 men he trusts can deliver a sixth World Cup ahead of this year's event starting on June 12 on home soil.

Having already led the most successful nation in the tournament's history to their fifth title in Japan in 2002, Scolari is now out to lay the ghosts of 1950, when the Selecao lost the trophy match to Uruguay in Rio.

His list contained no major surprises, although AC Milan forward Robinho (92 caps) missed the cut, along with former World Players of the Year Ronaldinho (97 caps) and Kaka (87 caps), in an echo of his decision to dump Romario for the 2002 campaign.

Robinho missed the cut despite facing Chile in a recent friendly.

With Scolari having said for months he knew who he wanted to pick, save for one or two exceptions, the focus was on who would provide back-up for a first 11 who easily saw off world champions Spain in last year's Confederations Cup warm-up.

For the defensive second string, Paris St Germain's Maxwell edged out Atletico Madrid's Filipe Luis, while veteran defender Maicon won at the expense of Bayern Munich's Rafinha, even though the latter had played in a March friendly romp against South Africa.

Henrique of Napoli, fresh from lifting the Coppa Italia, also claimed a berth while in the middle, Scolari completed his contingent with Manchester City's Fernandinho and Inter Milan's Hernanes.

BACKLINE

Scolari had already named as his four captains defensive linchpins Thiago Silva and David Luiz, veteran striker Fred of Fluminense and goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who got the nod despite playing in Major League Football with Toronto FC.

In 2002, Scolari preferred a 3-4-3 line up with Ronaldo at its apex. But now he and technical coordinator Carlos Alberto Parreira will likely base their hopes on a 4-2-3-1 permutation, with the idea that star man Neymar of Barcelona can enjoy a free role.

Just four of the players are with Brazilian clubs - reserve goalkeepers Jefferson and Victor and strikers Fred and Jo, the latter who had brief spells in England with Manchester City and Everton.

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