6 Players Brazil Should Turn to Following 2014 World Cup Collapse
It’s unlikely that Fred will be wearing the canary strip of the Brazilian national team anytime again soon, if ever.
The 30-year-old Fluminense forward was roundly booed upon his withdrawal against Germany in Brazil’s 7-1 semi-final defeat on Tuesday, and he was an unused substitute in Saturday’s third-place match in Brasilia.
In other words, he is one of the scapegoats for what was a disastrous few days in Brazilian football history, and he’s not alone.
Should Tite replace Luiz Felipe Scolari as Selecao manager as several outlets have suggested, according to Marca, the former Corinthians boss will almost certainly go in another direction up front and in several other positions as well.
Following are just six of the players Brazil can turn to in their time of crisis, three of which have already been capped by the five-time world champions.
Filipe Luis, Atletico Madrid
More than a few eyebrows were raised when Filipe Luis was omitted from Brazil manager Scolari’s 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup.
There was, and is, the notion that the 28-year-old should have been included instead of Maxwell, and given Marcelo’s performance against Germany there’s an argument to be made that the 28-year-old is his country’s best player in the position at present.
Lucas Leiva, Liverpool
A conscientious, defensive-minded midfielder, he would be exactly the sort of player Tite would turn to if he was appointed, and one of Fernandinho, Ramires or Hernanes would likely be sacrificed upon his inclusion.
(Paulinho, don’t forget, was a key player for Tite at Corinthians, and there’s still some loyalty there.)
What Brazil so clearly require is an organizer in the centre of the park, and the 27-year-old could well end up being that presence.
Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool
He was hardly responsible for the Germany debacle, but Bernard also showed in Belo Horizonte that he’s not an international-level player and not likely to become one.
Hulk, too, has disappointed over the course of the World Cup, although his status is rather more secure than that of the Shakhtar Donetsk attacker.
Enter Philippe Coutinho.
A somewhat-surprising Liverpool acquisition in 2012, the 22-year-old enjoyed a breakout season last term, scoring five Premier League goals, picking up seven assists and creating countless goalscoring opportunities with his combination of pace, passing and willingness to attack on the dribble.
He would be a natural inclusion in the next Brazil side, and he’s certainly earned the opportunity.
Alan Kardec, Sao Paulo
Jo, like Fred, is clearly not the answer to Brazil’s striking woes. At 27 years of age, however, he remains a more likely option than his Fluminense counterpart.
That said, Alan Kardec should expect to be brought into the fold when the next Brazil squad is assembled.
The 25-year-old scored a pair of goals in Brazil’s successful entry at the 2009 South American Youth Championship, and later that year, he found the back of the net four times as his country’s Under-20 outfit finished runners-up to Ghana at that age category’s World Cup.
More recently, he rediscovered some goalscoring form at Palmeiras following an unsuccessful spell at Benfica, and with his move to Sao Paulo, he’ll have a chance to win the Brasileiro title this season.
The top scorer at that 2009 South American Youth Championship was Walter, who, like Kardec, moved to Portugal shortly after the competition.
His time at Porto wasn’t quite as disastrous as Kardec’s was at Benfica, but he nevertheless returned to Brazil in 2012, and last season he scored 29 goals in all competitions for Goias.
Presently at Fluminense, the 24-year-old has so far tallied a pair of goals in four matches this season while being named Man of the Match once.
Rafinha Alcantara played at three levels of underage football for Spain before representing his native Brazil at last year’s U-20 World Cup.
His brother, Bayern Munich’s Thiago, is a full Spain international, and Brazil should do whatever it takes to get him cap-tied as quickly as possible.
The 21-year-old is the sort of playmaking midfielder Brazil so desperately need, and he’s likely to get regular, first-team football at Barcelona this season.
Last term, while on loan at Celta Vigo, Rafinha scored four goals, added five assists and generally impressed with his competence in both ball distribution and defense.