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2010 FIFA World Cup: Going for Six: Analyzing Brazil's World Cup Squad

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2010 FIFA World Cup: Going for Six: Analyzing Brazil's World Cup Squad
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Yesterday Brazilian boss Dunga chose his 23-men World Cup squad and the seven provisional players who could be called up to fill any void left by injury.

What must be said before I get on with analyzing Dunga's choices is to say that 'the professor' doesn't care how players are performing for their teams at the moment, he cares about how they play for him and how much they relish the opportunity to play for the canarinho.

In recent interviews, he has said that he wants his player to have pride for the jersey and while that may seem like a given, the truth is that many players have played in the past have done so with a sense of entitlement, like they were supposed to be there just for reputation alone. There will be none of that this time around.

Now, onto the squad:

Goalkeepers:

-Julio César (Internazionale/ITA); Gomes (Tottenham/ENG); Doni (Roma/ITA)

No surprises here. Julio César is the undisputed number one and is one of the world's best. Gomes has played superbly during the second-half of this year, helping Tottenham to a Champions League berth and is a capable number two.

Doni is a curious case, not having played consistently for Roma for a long time, but is an example of Dunga's philosophy; Doni has been loyal to the seleção and Dunga has repaid his actions with a spot in the roster.

 

Defenders:

-Starters: LB: Michel Bastos (Lyon/FRA); CBs: Juan (Roma/ITA), Lúcio (Internazionale/ITA); RB: Maicon (Internazionale/ITA).

- Reserves: Daniel Alves (Barcelona/ESP); Gilbero (Cruzeiro/BRA); Thiago Silva (AC Milan/ITA); Luisão (Benfica/POR).

Again, no shocks here. Dunga has, after experimenting with many players has decided to go with Michel Bastos for the Left Back position.

Lúcio and Juan are solid and have played together for a long time, and Maicon is 1a and Daniel Alves 1b. Both Luisão and Thiago Silva have had very good seasons and Gilberto is a very experienced player who can help in the case of injury.

 

Midfielders:

- Kaká (Real Madrid/ESP); Felipe Melo (Juventus/ITA); Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos/GRE); Ramires (Benfica/POR); Elano (Galatasaray/TUR); Josué (Wolfsburg/GER); Julio Baptista (Roma/ITA); Kléberson (Flamengo/BRA)

Here is where it begins to get complicated for Dunga. If we go by Brazil's friendly against Ireland in March Felipe Melo will start as the holding midfielder, and Gilberto Silva and Ramires at either side of Kaká, who plays the role of creator. All fine so far.

The problem really emerges on the bench. The selections of Kleberson and Julio Baptista aren't really surprises, but they aren't the people's choices.

Calls for Ronaldinho to be placed on the squad by most of the populace went unheard by Dunga and the once best player in the world is left out of the squad.

Another player that was a shoo-in if the voices of the people were heard was Paulo Henrique Ganso, the 20-year old Santos phenom .

He, also, did not make the 23-men squad for what Dunga has called a lack of experience. And rightfully so, Ganso has had no first team caps.

Kaká has not been 100 percent healthy all season long and an injury to him would severely hamper Brazil's offense.

The worry for the fans is that Julio Baptista or Kléberson aren't up to the task. Ronaldinho would certainly slip into this spot seamlessly and so would Ganso.

The one player I felt was snubbed was Juventus' Diego. He hasn't had a great season for the Bianconerri but neither has Felipe Melo.

Here's where Dunga's National team-first attitude comes into play. Melo has played well for the seleção , Diego hasn't. Melo is going to the world cup , Diego isn't.

 

Forwards:

- Robinho (Santos/BRA from Manchester City/ENG); Luis Fabiano (Sevilla/ESP); Nilmar (Villareal/ESP); Grafite (Wolfsburg/GER)

The biggest surprise for many came in the selection of Grafite instead of Adriano. I didn't bat an eye. For the longest time now there have been story after story about Adriano making a mess out of his personal life and hurting his team, arriving late at practices (not showing up at all at times), being seen going out at night in less than friendly places with, allegedly, the company of Rio's biggest criminals.

Dunga is a no-nonsense kind of guy, he won't take a player who can be so volatile and who can hurt his team.

Robinho and Luis Fabiano are two world-class strikers and Nilmar is playing great football for Villareal. For a team who emphasizes defending as much as this Dunga-led Brazil, the quality of strikers is top class.

 

Reserves:

- Alex (Chelsea/ENG - defender); Carlos Eduardo (Hoffenheim/GER - midfielder); Ronaldinho (Milan/ITA - midfielder); Sandro (Internacional/BRA - midfielder); Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos/BRA - midfielder); Marcelo (Real Madrid/ESP - defender); Diego Tardelli (Atlético Mineiro/BRA - striker)

Ronaldinho and Ganso do make the 30-man squad but it is unlikely they will go to South Africa. Brasil play no friendlies between now and their opener against North Korea on June 15th so the chances of an injury to a squad member are very small.

Marcelo has had a breakout season for Real Madrid and Sandro is Tottenham-bound next season. Diego Tardelli could, in my opinion, be a great addition to any offensively challenged team in Europe.

If Brazil fail to win this world cup, much of the blame will be thrown on the shoulders of Dunga for his choice of players and his style of play. Brazillians are not all happy with a more defensive approach and prefer to win by scoring lots and putting on a show.

This team is not like such and this has brought many fans to question the team's chances this year. The reality is Dunga is 2-for-2 in tournament play (Copa America 2006 and Confederations Cup last year) and placed first in South American qualifying.

This is still Brazil and as such the expectations are massive. It's win or bust and heads will roll if the squad comes home empty handed. But Dunga has done enough to earn the trust of Brazil fans and if he feels these are the 23 players who are better prepared for the tournament, it is fine for me.

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