5 Brazil Players Playing for Their Futures vs. Argentina

Christopher AtkinsContributor IOctober 7, 2014

5 Brazil Players Playing for Their Futures vs. Argentina

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Brazil manager Dunga has much to consider in the days ahead, while travelling to the Far East to take on Argentina and Japan in Beijing and Singapore, respectively, as he continues planning for next summer's Copa America.

    After announcing a squad that has more than a couple of controversial picks, albeit following the withdrawal through injury of some regular names, the pressure is on to prove that the right calls are being made.

    At this point for several of those players, it is a case of playing for their continued involvement in the Brazil national team.

    Who, then, are the five players most under scrutiny over the course of the coming fortnight?

Robinho

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    Somewhat of a teacher's pet figure under Dunga, Robinho has been a feature in both the manager's squads so far in this second spell at the helm.

    Robinho played some excellent football under the 1994 World Cup winner first time around, becoming a central figure of the attack in the 2006-2010 cycle.

    However, that remains by far the best period of the one time wunderkind's international career, while his game at club level has dropped off considerably in that time.

    Still just 30, he should be right in the prime of his career yet managed just five league goals in his final two seasons at Milan. His record of three in nine in the Brasileirao since rejoining boyhood side Santos is also far from setting the world alight.

    His inclusion is questioned and, if given minutes, it is up to him to justify his continued involvement at this level.

Kaka

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    In a similar situation to Robinho, albeit two years further down the line, former World Player of the Year Kaka earned a surprise late call-up to the squad this week following injury to Cruzeiro's Ricardo Goulart.

    While the former Milan star has been in good form of late—and indeed in his final season at Milan—his inclusion over perhaps more worthy candidates has also provoked much criticism.

    There is no doubting that Kaka can still play a role at the top level, even if he is unable to truly take hold of games as he could in his prime.

    Kaka's challenge if used against Argentina and Japan, then, is to prove to his manager that he offers enough in his game to justify continued selection ahead of coming Copa America tournaments.

Elias

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    Consistently derided for his continued selection for Brazil under former club manager Mano Menezes, Elias has gone a long way to turning around his career since ending a disastrous spell in Europe with Flamengo and now Corinthians.

    A box-to-box midfielder, he will likely start against Argentina this weekend due to the absence through injury of regulars Ramires and Fernandinho. Given the opponent, the spotlight will be on a player many don't consider up to the challenges of international football.

    Loyal supporter Menezes eventually dispensed of his charge for first Fernandinho then Romulo, with the latter having earned a recall to the Brazil setup following a lengthy knee injury this time around.

    It will be sink or swim for Elias in Beijing, with the Argentina clash potentially determining his international future in a position with much competition.

Diego Tardelli

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    Diego Tardelli's first two appearances in the second Dunga era were solid seven out of 10 showings against Ecuador and Colombia, offering plenty of movement while linking well with Neymar and Oscar alongside him.

    However, this is the Brazil central striker berth that is being discussed and Tardelli is currently goalless in his seven international games—all of which have come under the same manager.

    He will be given time as long as he keeps showing use, but there will come a point when he simply has to start scoring. His career as a whole is highly inconsistent in that respect although nine in 19 games in this year's Brasileirao is a good return at club level.

    The selecao, though, is a different kettle of fish entirely and the public are not known to be forgiving, particularly when it comes to attacking players.

    Blanks against Argentina and Japan will see the pressure ramp up on Tardelli and other options perhaps enter the mind of manager Dunga.

Romulo

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    It feels harsh to say that any player is playing for their international future at the age of 24, but given that 2012 Olympic Games starter Romulo has missed much of the intervening two years, there are major doubts as to his current level.

    Indeed, that the Brazilian has featured in just three of Spartak Moscow's nine league fixtures this season would suggest that his club are also far from convinced as to his current standard.

    At his best at Vasco da Gama, Romulo was a midfielder that Brazil have been missing—a player willing to collect the ball from the defence, constantly move into space and distribute play from the base of midfield.

    That is all two years in the past, though, meaning eyebrows were justifiably raised when he was called to replace Ramires earlier this week.

    It may not be the end given his relative youth, but Romulo will certainly be playing for his immediate international future over the fortnight ahead.