Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup Squad: Player-by-Player Guide

Christopher AtkinsContributor IMay 13, 2014

Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup Squad: Player-by-Player Guide

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    Brazil may be five-time world champions, but they have never won the competition on home soil. That is the challenge that awaits this year's crop as they prepare for the biggest test of their playing careers.

    There were few surprises in Luiz Felipe Scolari's selection for the competition, with the experienced coach sticking to a core group of players that have served him well in the 18 months since he retook the manager's position.

    The Selecao won the Confederations Cup against the odds last summer and will hope to repeat their trick this time around to secure a place in football history.

    Who, then, are the 23 men upon whose shoulders that burden exists?

Julio Cesar

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    Name: Julio Cesar Soares Espindola

    Date of Birth: 3 September 1979

    Birthplace: Duque de Caxias, Brazil

    Position: Goalkeeper

    Caps: 78

    Club: Toronto FC (loan from Queens Park Rangers)

    Brief Bio: One of the most decorated goalkeepers of recent years, five-time Serie A winner Julio Cesar regained his place in the Brazil setup upon the return of head coach Scolari in 2013.

    A one-year spell in London with Queens Park Rangers saw the Brazilian excel in spite of his side's relegation before he stood out in success at the Confederations Cup last summer. He is now plying his trade on loan at Toronto FC in Major League Soccer.

Jefferson

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    Name: Jefferson de Oliveira Galvao

    Date of Birth: 2 January 1983

    Birthplace: Sao Vicente (SP), Brazil

    Position: Goalkeeper

    Caps: 9

    Club: Botafogo

    Brief Bio: Renowned for his penalty-saving abilities, Botafogo's Jefferson is regarded by many as the best goalkeeper in Brazilian domestic football. He is perhaps unlucky not find himself favourite for a starting berth.

    As someone who has captained his country in the past and who possesses a wealth of experience from both his time in Europe and Brazil, he will be a steadying influence around the camp and a fine stand-in for Julio Cesar if required.

Victor

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    Name: Victor Leandro Bagy

    Date of Birth: 21 January 1983

    Birthplace: Santo Anastacio, Brazil

    Position: Goalkeeper

    Caps: 6

    Club: Atletico Mineiro

    Brief Bio: Another leading light of the Brazilian domestic game, Victor has been considered among the top rung of goalkeepers in the country for several years and played a major role in his club's Copa Libertadores triumph in 2013.

    Also renowned for his superb reflexes and penalty saves, he will be another experienced head around camp in what will be a high-pressure environment.

Dani Alves

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    Name: Daniel Alves da Silva

    Date of Birth: 6 May 1983

    Birthplace: Juazeiro, Brazil

    Position: Right-back

    Caps: 73

    Club: FC Barcelona

    Brief Bio: After a decade at the top of the game at club level, the 2014 World Cup could well be Dani Alves' final hurrah in a Brazil shirt. Having been accused of regularly failing to turn up for his country, he has been integral to the side's resurgence under Felipao.

    The Barcelona man has won everything there is to win at club level, playing as part of a side widely considered to be one of the best of all time. His attacking surges have been key to those successes, and Brazil will hope to unleash him in a similar manner this summer.

Maicon

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    Name: Maicon Douglas Sisenando

    Date of Birth: 26 July 1981

    Birthplace: Novo Hamburgo, Brazil

    Position: Right-back

    Caps: 70

    Club: AS Roma

    Brief Bio: Another of world football's leading lights in his position over the past decade, Maicon has enjoyed somewhat of a revival with Roma and earned a late recall into Scolari's plans for the summer.

    Scolari has packed his squad with experienced heads, and having won four international competitions with Brazil to add to his considerable club successes, Maicon is as learned as they come. He will play an important role in backing up Dani Alves over the weeks ahead.

Marcelo

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    Name: Marcelo Vieira da Silva Junior

    Date of Birth: 12 May 1988

    Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Position: Left-back

    Caps: 29

    Club: Real Madrid

    Brief Bio: As feisty as they come, left-back Marcelo is widely regarded as one of the very best in the world in his position and is a terrific attacking outlet on the flank for both club and country.

    Having moved to Real Madrid as a teenager, the former Fluminense man has come of age in the Spanish capital, transforming himself into the prototype of a modern full-back. If he can keep his notorious temper in check, he will be essential to Brazil's hopes of glory this summer.

Maxwell

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    Name: Maxwell Scherrer Cabelino Andrade

    Date of Birth: 27 August 1981

    Birthplace: Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, Brazil

    Position: Left-back

    Caps: 7

    Club: Paris Saint-Germain

    Brief Bio: Internationally, he is one of the least experienced players in Felipao's Brazil squad. However, there can be no doubting Maxwell's readiness for the challenges ahead following over a decade in Europe with giant clubs Ajax, Inter Milan, Barcelona and PSG.

    While his wealth of knowledge doubtless played in his favour, Maxwell has very much earned his spot in the 23-man squad by merit. He has been simply outstanding for PSG this season despite the arrival of young pretender Lucas Digne, putting in top-level performances in Ligue 1 and the Champions League.

Thiago Silva

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    Name: Thiago Emiliano da Silva

    Date of Birth: 22 September 1984

    Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Position: Centre-back

    Caps: 45

    Club: Paris Saint-Germain

    Brief Bio: The best central defender in world football? There are many who believe that to be the case, and his performances as captain of his national team over the past two years have only further reinforced that theory.

    Thiago Silva is a natural leader, commanding respect from all around him. He is an understated character but has a remarkable ability to read a football game and put his teammates at ease. His partnership with David Luiz, who looks like a different player alongside Thiago, is the rock upon which Felipao has built his side.

David Luiz

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    Name: David Luiz Moreira Marinho

    Date of Birth: 22 April 1987

    Birthplace: Diadema, Brazil

    Position: Centre-back

    Caps: 34

    Club: Chelsea

    Brief Bio: One of the most naturally gifted defenders of the current era, David Luiz has every physical and technical attribute that one could ever wish a centre-back to possess. His one major weakness, seen more at club level, is in concentration, but he has been a hugely reliable figure for Brazil under Scolari.

    While he often features in midfield for club side Chelsea, Luiz has compiled an impressive CV that includes both Champions League and Europa League titles. Often seen as needing to mature into becoming a world-leading centre-back, Luiz is now 27 and, given his range of top-level experiences, should be well-equipped to state his case in national team colours this summer.

Dante

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    Name: Dante Bonfim Costa Santos

    Date of Birth: 18 October 1983

    Birthplace: Salvador (BA), Brazil

    Position: Centre-back

    Caps: 11

    Club: FC Bayern Munich

    Brief Bio: The epitome of a late bloomer, centre-back Dante only made his Brazil debut at the ripe old age of 29, having spent the bulk of his career below the national team radar with Lille, Charleroi, Standard Liege and Borussia Monchengladbach.

    His impressive form with Gladbach, though, earned Dante a shot at the big-time with Bayern Munich, and he seized his chance in impressive fashion as part of a side that secured a famous treble in the 2012-13 season. That form propelled him into Scolari's plans ahead of the Confederations Cup, and he has not looked back since.

Henrique

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    Name: Henrique Adriano Buss

    Date of Birth: 14 October 1986

    Birthplace: Marechal Candido RondonBrazil

    Position: Centre-back

    Caps: 4

    Club: Napoli

    Brief Bio: Scolari's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup was almost entirely predictable. However, there was still room for one surprise selection in his party in the form of 27-year-old Henrique, who beat Cruzeiro's Dede to the fourth and final centre-back berth.

    Felipao knows Henrique well, having spent the best part of two years managing him as part of his Copa do Brasil-winning Palmeiras side. Just a few months ago, it seemed there was little chance of him playing at the World Cup, but a successful January move to Napoli has seen Henrique come up on the rails to secure his place.

Luiz Gustavo

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    Name: Luiz Gustavo Dias

    Date of Birth: 23 July 1987

    Birthplace: Pindamonhangaba, Brazil

    Position: Defensive midfield

    Caps: 17

    Club: Wolfsburg

    Brief Bio: Former Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo was for a long time in the international football wilderness. However, since Scolari took control of the Brazil setup early last year, Gustavo has been the base upon which he has built his midfield.

    Initially, Luiz Gustavo's selection was not universally well-received, with his defensive mindset not in keeping with how some would like to see Brazil play. He was, though, integral to success at the Confederations Cup, proving himself essential to the balance of the side.

Paulinho

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    Name: Jose Paulo Bezerra Maciel Junior

    Date of Birth: 25 July 1988

    Birthplace: Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Position: Central midfield

    Caps: 25

    Club: Tottenham

    Brief Bio: If Luiz Gustavo is the base upon which Scolari builds his midfield, then Paulinho is the side's engine. Besides needing to play a key role as part of the defensive setup, the Spurs midfielder is also expected to push forward and support the attack.

    It is fair to say that his first season in England has not quite gone to plan, but Paulinho's past performances as part of Scolari's side guarantee his role in the starting XI. Having begun his career wandering in Poland and Lithuania, Paulinho's rise to global star is indicative of how fortunes can quickly change in football.

Fernandinho

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    Name: Fernando Luiz Rosa

    Date of Birth: 4 May 1985

    Birthplace: Londrina, Brazil

    Position: Central midfield

    Caps: 6

    Club: Manchester City

    Brief Bio: Alongside the likes of Jadson and Elano, Fernandinho was one of the first waves of Brazilians to really put Shakhtar Donetsk on the map when he moved from Atletico Paranaense to Ukraine in 2005. In eight seasons at the club, he secured six league titles and a host of other medals, including the 2009 UEFA Cup.

    It was in Ukraine that he made his name in Europe. However, while well-regarded, he was unable to push his claims for an international berth while at Shakhtar. Two outstanding performances against Chelsea in 2012, though, changed everything, and the following summer, he joined Manchester City. Now a Premier League winner, Fernandinho has been one of the club's standout performers this season.

Ramires

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    Name: Ramires Santos do Nascimento

    Date of Birth: 24 March 1987

    Birthplace: Barra do Pirai, Brazil

    Position: Central midfield

    Caps: 41

    Club: Chelsea

    Brief Bio: One of world football's truly exceptional box-to-box midfielders, Ramires' positional versatility and tactical flexibility makes him a manager's dream heading into a tournament such as the World Cup. He is the equivalent of having an extra couple of players at your disposal.

    It is that ability to adapt to his team's needs that has made him so important to Chelsea's cause over recent seasons. He has played a number of roles on big occasions and rarely disappoints while his commitment to the cause can never be questioned. He may not start this summer, but he could be a decisive figure for his side off the substitute's bench.

Hernanes

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    Name: Anderson Hernandes de Carvalho Viana Lima

    Date of Birth: 29 May 1985

    Birthplace: Recife, Brazil

    Position: Central midfield

    Caps: 23

    Club: Inter Milan

    Brief Bio: Another who could play an important role for Scolari's side from the substitutes' bench is Hernanes, whose calm in possession and range of passing could be key to maintaining a measure of control late in games.

    The former Lazio man has not had a great second half of the season since switching to Inter Milan but remains a trusted member of Scolari's Brazil setup. His ability to play in either a defensive or attacking midfield role equally well also plays in his favour given the limitations of squad selection.

Oscar

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    Name: Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Junior

    Date of Birth: 9 September 1991

    Birthplace: Americana (SP), Brazil

    Position: Attacking midfield

    Caps: 29

    Club: Chelsea

    Brief Bio: Attacking midfield playmaker Oscar is the man who will need to fire if Brazil are to repeat their trick of last summer and secure World Cup glory this summer. For all the attention on Neymar, Oscar is the creative hub of Scolari's side and the man who relieves the pressure placed upon the Barcelona star.

    Given that Oscar is renowned for his all-around ability, his scoring record of one goal in every three appearances for his country is exceptional. He is also a regular supplier of assists. His ability, though, to contribute defensively sets him apart from many in his position, making him a favourite with managers at both club and international levels.

Willian

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    Name: Willian Borges da Silva

    Date of Birth: 9 August 1988

    Birthplace: Ribeirao Pires, Brazil

    Position: Attacking midfield

    Caps: 5

    Club: Chelsea

    Brief Bio: Another of the Chelsea legion heading to Brazil this summer is Willian, who has enjoyed a terrific first year at Stamford Bridge since joining from Anzhi last summer. A versatile attacking midfielder, Willian offers terrific ability to sides either looking to retain possession or strike quickly on the counter-attack.

    Willian made his name at Shakhtar Donetsk alongside Fernandinho, but it has only been since he began excelling in the Premier League that he has been fully integrated into the international scene. He will likely be a regular rotation option for Scolari over the coming weeks.

Bernard

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    Name: Bernard Anicio Caldeira Duarte

    Date of Birth: 8 September 1992

    Birthplace: Belo Horizonte, Brazil

    Position: Attacking midfield

    Caps: 10

    Club: Shakhtar Donetsk

    Brief Bio: One of those in the squad who will consider themselves most fortunate to be heading to the competition is Bernard, having endured a disappointing first season in Ukraine—albeit not aided by off-the-pitch issues. He has, though, done enough to hold off the challenge of PSG's Lucas Moura, who has also failed to press his claims strongly this past year.

    Bernard's main advantage over Lucas comes in the quality of his recent outings for Brazil, having made a real difference off the bench to push himself ahead of his rival in Felipao's thinking. The diminutive forward is lightening fast of the mark, possesses great skill and an eye for a pass. If Brazil need a goal, Scolari will turn in his direction.

Neymar

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    Name: Neymar da Silva Santos Junior

    Date of Birth: 5 February 1992

    Birthplace: Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil

    Position: Attacking midfield/Forward

    Caps: 47

    Club: Barcelona

    Brief Bio: The outstanding Brazilian talent of his generation, Neymar inspired his side to Confederations Cup success last summer and is currently on course to challenge the goalscoring records of Pele and Ronaldo in the colours of the Selecao.

    Following last year's success, Neymar moved from childhood club Santos to European football with Barcelona. Thus far, he has yet to set the world alight. His quality is undoubted, however, and for Brazil, he is the man around which everything is focused. A natural showman, he thrives when placed in the spotlight.

Hulk

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    Name: Givanildo Vieira de Souza

    Date of Birth: 25 July 1986

    Birthplace: Campina Grande, Brazil

    Position: Winger/Forward

    Caps: 33

    Club: Zenit St. Petersburg

    Brief Bio: Former Porto star Hulk may not be a favourite with all Brazil fans, but he is another who has won the trust of Scolari. Likely to start in a wide right position if given the nod, his job will be to provide width and balance to allow for the wanderings of Neymar on the other flank.

    Hulk has a phenomenal scoring record at club level over recent years, with his almost-unrivalled power a nightmare for defenders to contend with. Whether it be from a central berth or cutting in onto his left foot from wide, he is capable of being a major goal threat and will hope to convince the Brazilian public of his ability once and for all this summer.

Fred

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    Name: Frederico Chaves Guedes

    Date of Birth: 3 October 1983

    Birthplace: Teofilo Otoni (MG), Brazil

    Position: Striker

    Caps: 31

    Club: Fluminense

    Brief Bio: Another name who may not be as fashionable as some of those omitted, Fred has been a constant under Scolari when fully fit and has not let his coach down. With nine goals in 10 games for the Selecao over the past 18 months, he is fully deserving of his status.

    Once at Lyon, Fred has matured with age to become a highly effective target man. While he lacks the mobility some would like, he is always a threat in the penalty area and links play well with those around him. Given the youthful nature of Brazil's midfield, his experience is invaluable.

Jo.

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    Name: Joao Alves de Assis Silva

    Date of Birth: 20 March 1987

    Birthplace: Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Position: Striker

    Caps: 15

    Club: Atletico Mineiro

    Brief Bio: Like Fred, Jo has not always been the most popular of selections among the Brazilian public. However, he has also shone in the Scolari era as the primary reserve centre-forward, scoring five international goals since his late selection for the 2013 Confederations Cup.

    Jo offers increased movement to Fred and has shown himself to link well with Neymar and Oscar. His form has dropped off a little with club side Atletico Mineiro, but it is with the Belo Horizonte side that he has rebuilt his career after disappointing in England. Still just 27, he may well be playing to earn himself a second shot at European football at this summer's competition.