Final 23-Man Brazil Squad:
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Doni (AS Roma), Gomes (Tottenham Hotspur)
Defenders: Maicon (Inter Milan), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Michel Bastos (Olympique Lyon), Gilberto (Cruzeiro), Lucio (Inter Milan), Juan (AS Roma), Luisao (Benfica), Thiago Silva (AC Milan)
Midfielders: Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos), Felipe Melo (Juventus), Ramires (Benfica), Elano (Galatasaray), Kaka (Real Madrid), Julio Baptista (Roma), Kleberson (Flamengo), Josué (VfL Wolfsburg).
Forwards: Robinho (Santos), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Nilmar (Villarreal), Grafite (VfL Wolfsburg)
Although it would be foolish to say that Brazil are lacking the stereotypical flair and creativity which is associated with their football team with such adventurous full-backs and ball wizards such as Robinho and Kaka, the omission of Ronaldinho, can be seen as a statement of intent from manager Dunga that this side will not be bullied out of a win.
Dunga’s side will be a tough proposition for anybody
The goalkeepers, especially first choice Julio Cesar, offer greater quality than we are accustomed to seeing from the 5-time champions. The Internazionale No. 1 has been talked of by some experts as now also being the world’s No. 1, and Roma ‘keeper Doni is also an extremely capable deputy who has many years of top level experience. Gomes is, as many Premier League followers will know, a ‘keeper capable of fantastic saves, but also of horrendous errors, a feature of his game which may force him to the back of the queue to be between in the sticks.
The defence could be said to be looking somewhat typical of a Brazilian defence, with quality no doubt there, but a doubt hanging over certain elements, such as the discipline of centre backs like Lucio and Thiago Silva. Also, there is a doubt over the left-backs, as Gilberto is past his best and was never a world-beater anyway, and Michel Bastos is unproven at the highest level, despite scoring a stunning free-kick in today’s friendly over Zimbabwe.
There is controversy surrounding the midfield selection, with five players selected who play a defensive role. This indicates Dunga’s desire to play with two holding midfielders. A couple of these have question marks over them at the moment though, for example Felipe Melo had a dreadful season with Juventus, and Kleberson and Gilberto Silva are simply not the players they were. However, some of players such as Ramires are extremely versatile and can fill a number of holes should they appear across the team throughout the tournament.
Despite Felipe Melo’s poor season with Juventus, he is still an integral part of Dunga’s plans
There is class with the more attacking options in midfield, most notably with Kaka, but Elano is also extremely talented, and although Baptista is erratic, he does possess great ability and is again versatile. With only these three chosen, along with the five more defensive options, the decision to leave Ronaldinho behind is more perplexing, as he would have added class and experience to the squad. Diego, despite a poor first season in Serie A with Juventus, could have also been an option.
Robinho could be said to be the surprise inclusion out of the strikers, chosen above the gifted Milan forward Pato, despite having an awful start to the season in Manchester and then being out shone by Neymar in Santos. It is well documented, however, that he has terrific natural ability and can turn a game in an instant with a moment of magic.
Can Robinho fulfil his potential in South Africa?
Nilmar and Grafite both are relatively unproven at this level, but both have had decent seasons with Villarreal and Wolfsburg respectively, and will both be a threat to any side if they continue this form. Luis Fabiano stands out as the key man upfront, as he has the physical and technical qualities to rip even the best teams apart and lead the line fantastically.
The squad does look to fill the positions for the system which Dunga will employ, a counterattacking style, with two defensive midfielders giving the 4 more attacking players licence to play. The major worry though seems to be the lack of attacking midfield options. Should Kaka or Elano be unavailable at any point, Brazil will look extremely thin on the ground in this area.
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