Six Unlucky Brazilians Likely to Miss out on World Cup Squad
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is set to name his 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup tomorrow. After an excellent 2013, which saw Brazil lift the Confederations Cup and win 12 games in 13, there are not expected to be many surprise draws in Felipao's pack.
Here, we take a look at a handful of Selecao hopefuls who may consider themselves unlucky not to be part of the first World Cup to be held in Brazil for 64 years.
The massive stopper has been one of the most consistent performers between the sticks over the last two seasons in Brazil.
Cassio was instrumental in Corinthians' 2012 FIFA World Club Cup win over Chelsea, making four important saves as the Brazilians won the title of world champions. He missed the final months of the 2013 season after shoulder surgery but is now back in top form.
He has made an excellent start to the national season in Brazil. In three games Corinthians are yet to concede.
Position: Central defence
Club: Atletico Madrid
On the verge of what could be a historic La Liga and Champions League double for the Vicente Calderon outfit. The Brazilian has been one of the stand-out performers this season and his name is being mentioned in a World Cup context with increasing frequency, a goal the player himself has not given up on, per Fifa.com (h/t Sambafoot).
Whilst his Atletico partner Diego Godin may be the enforcer, Miranda is equally adept at holding the fort and moving the ball quickly from back to front.
At 29 years old, he may not be a long-term solution but his disciplined displays against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals were a notch above Dante's failure to keep tabs on Real's attack at the Allianz Arena.
Position: Holding midfield
As bullish a holding midfielder as you are likely to see and wouldn't look out of place on the door of one of your less salubrious drinking establishments, Nilton was at the crux of Cruzeiro's title-winning form in 2013.
A hugely imposing enforcer, the former Vasco midfielder is comfortable in front of the defence or dropping back in as a makeshift third central defender.
Powerful in the air, he chipped in with some vital goals during last season's Campeonato Brasileiro success and already has two in three games at the start of this season.
Employed to break up and destroy intricate build-up play, there are few as effective.
Position: Central Midfield
There has been plenty of toing and froing over the merits of selecting Paulinho and Ramires together in the Brazil line-up during the World Cup but over at Vila Belmiro Cicero's eye for goal has made him one of the finest midfield prospects in the country.
Happier rampaging rather than doing the nitty gritty in the middle of the park, his goalscoring touch is a handy asset, especially from midfield.
Last season he managed 15 goals from the middle, testament to his ability from long-range and well-timed late runs into dangerous areas. He could be a useful option from the bench.
Position: Attacking Midfield
The calls for Coutinho's inclusion, or at the very least some form of acknowledgement from Luiz Felipe Scolari that the Liverpool playmaker is in fact quite a tidy little player, seem to be getting more vociferous with each passing week.
Liverpool may have blown their best chance of a league title since 1990 last night, but their attack has been one of the most entertaining in Europe and a large part of the credit must go down to the Brazilian.
Whilst Suarez and Sturridge have been banging in the goals, Coutinho has been slowly rebuilding the promise he showed at Vasco da Gama before being prematurely shipped out to Italian club Internazionale.
In Brendan Rodgers he has found a manager who has full faith in him and he has flourished over the last nine months. Despite his significant role in Liverpool's resurgence, he looks set to be overlooked by Scolari.
Given Scolari's love of a target man, it is slightly surprising Jonas has not been given a chance to impress prior to the World Cup.
First-choice Fred was in scintillating form for the Selecao last year but his club form has been patchy. Jo, meanwhile, is inconsistent in front of goal and unlikely to strike fear into the world's sternest defences.
Jonas has been at Spanish club Valencia for over three years and his goalscoring record, whilst not perhaps as prolific as it could be, is still not to be dismissed.
This season he has 12 goals in 29 appearances, as per ESPN. But his ability in the air is what might have attracted him to Big Phil.
Operating in front of a trio of suppliers, Jonas possesses a more assured finishing touch than Jo and possibly even Scolari's favourite, Confederations Cup hero Fred.