Sat, Apr 26, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Scolari says he has chosen Brazil World Cup squad

Reuters, SAO PAULO, Brazil

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari knows his 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup finals and has chosen Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Julio Cesar and Fred to act as captains, he said on Thursday.

“I have no doubts, but I have to wait for the leagues that are under way to end. You never know what might happen,” Scolari said at the Sao Judas Tadeu University in Sao Paulo after a conference on psychology and soccer.

The coach said he had not yet informed the 23 men who will seek to win to win Brazil’s sixth world title — and their first on home soil — in June and July this year. Even his deputy Carlos Alberto Parreira is still in the dark, he said.

“It’s not a secret if two people know, not even if one of them is your wife,” Scolari said. “You won’t see any surprises. If you make your own list you’ll get 22 of them right.”

The idea of sharing the responsibilities first came in 2002 when Scolari led Brazil to their fifth World Cup title. Cafu was the man who wore the armband and lifted the trophy in Japan, but the wily coach also handed responsibilities to Roque Junior, the central defender considered one of the more intelligent players in the squad, and Roberto Carlos, the talker in the team, as well as to senior professionals Ronaldo and Rivaldo.

Scolari dropped another clue about the makeup of his squad when admitting he would be cheering for Atletico Madrid to beat Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals next week.

Chelsea have four Brazilians playing for them — Oscar, David Luiz, Ramires and Willian — and he said the quartet would be more rested if they did not qualify for the final in Lisbon late next month. The two sides drew 0-0 in the first leg in Spain on Tuesday.

That will be welcome news for Willian in particular. The midfielder only got his first call up in October last year — after Brazil won the FIFA Confederations Cup — and although he has played well for both club and country this season, he was not considered a certainty for selection.

Scolari also backed two players out of form with their club sides. He spoke to Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho to inform him of his travel plans and said he was not at all worried about Neymar’s struggles with Barcelona.

The young striker has been superb for Brazil, scoring 30 goals in 47 appearances, a mark only Pele reached in fewer games.

However, he has struggled this season with a Barcelona team going through an uncharacteristically rocky phase.

“Neymar is always fine,” Scolari said. “It’s his team that’s not doing well and he’s part of that group. At international level, he will be as good as he always is. I see him very differently from the way some Spanish critics see him. I have no worries about him. None. Zero.”

Scolari is due to announce his squad in Rio de Janeiro on May 7.

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