For the upcoming friendly against the USA on August 10th, the new Brazilian coach Mano Menezes announced his first squad. Surprisingly, there will be only four players in the squad that played for Dunga’s Brazil in the 2010 World Cup – namely: Dani Alves, Ramires, Thiago Silva and Robinho.
Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva and Manchester United youngster Rafael da Silva also got the call from Menezes. Lucas has been capped three times already for the national side whereas the 20 year old defender is yet to make an international debut.
There are a total of 11 debutants in the squad of 24 for the game in New Jersey. The intentions are loud and clear, Menezes is targeting for a squad to be played in the 2014 World Cup which is to be played at their home.
A number of players that are considered to be a must in any team they’re available for have been left out. Julio Cesar, Juan, Lucio, Maicon, Kaka and Luis Fabiano. All of them will be well into their 30s by the time 2014 comes around and frankly, their performance in 2010 wasn’t all too impressive resulting their first non-European World Cup loss since Mexico 1986.
You may question his squad for the lack of star names. To be honest, I do not recognize more than half of the squad at all. You may argue the fact that the aforementioned players have a couple of years of football in them at least but that’s the thing. Menezes is not looking for a couple of years of football. He needs a squad that is at its peak when 2014 comes around and the world has his eyes on them.
The 26 year old Robinho maintains his spot on the squad probably because currently he is their sambest player. Something what Brazil expected Ronaldinho to do this World Cup. We did see glimpses of Robinho’s magic in the World Cup but it wasn’t enough.
Another survivor of the 2010 World Cup, Ramires, is 23 and is considered to be a future star of Brazilian football. Currently plying his trade at Benifca with rumors of Chelsea pursuing his signature. Ramires will be set to pull the strings in the Brazilian midfield as Robinho and the much deserving Alexandre Pato will be upfront waiting for the chance to pop up.
The average age of the squad in 2010 was just under 29 years and this squad is much younger. Then again, Dunga selected his team four years ago.
2014 will be the second ever World Cup that Brazil will host, first being in 1950 that they lost to Uruguay. The whole world will really expect for Brazil to win their sixth title and that will mount unimaginable pressure on Mano Menezes and his men.
Here’s the 24-man squad announced by Menezes:
Goalkeeper: Jefferson (Botafogo), Renan (Avai), Victor (Gremio)
Defenders: Andre Santos (Fenerbahce), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Rafael da Silva (Manchester United), David Luis (Benfica), Henrique (Racing Santander), Rever (Atletico Mineiro), Thiago Silva (AC Milan)
Midfielders: Carlos Eduardo (Hoffenheim), Ederson (Lyon), Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos), Hernanes (Sao Paulo), Jucilei (Corinthians), Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Ramires (Benfica), Sandro (Internacional)
Forwards: Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Andre (Santos), Diego Tardelli (Atletico Mineiro), Neymar (Santos), Robinho (Santos, on loan from Manchester City)
Take a look at Gil Braga’s take on Mano Menezes, Brazil and “Project 2014”.