Copa America 2015 Team Guide: Brazil
With the 2015 Copa America due to start in Chile on June 11, we’ve been running a week-long feature covering each of the 12 teams taking part, assessing their most important men and looking back at past impact on the tournament.
This time around we’re looking at Brazil, always one of the favourites and perhaps a team with something to prove at a major finals after the horrendous way their World Cup campaign ended on home soil.
Brazil have already had to make three adjustments to their initially named 23-man squad, with goalkeeper Diego Alves, left-back Marcelo and now defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo all having to pull out with injury.
Goalkeepers: Jefferson, Neto, Marcelo Grohe,
Defenders: David Luiz, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Fabinho, Geferson,
Filipe Luis, Danilo
Midfielders: Fernandinho, Elias, Souza, Everton Ribeiro, Douglas Costa, Willian, Philippe Coutinho
Forwards: Neymar, Diego Tardelli, Robinho, Firmino.
Dunga is in his second spell in charge of the Brazilian national team, having led his home nation at the World Cup in 2010.
Known then as pragmatic and defensive-minded—overly so for the liking of some—this time around Dunga has looked to get his side playing a fast, attacking style while retaining the usual solidity of Brazil’s 4-2-3-1.
His team still centres around the talents of Neymar and a few other well-established players, but a whole host of names have already come into the mix since the failure of last year’s World Cup and his Copa America squad is a reflection of that.
It has to be Neymar, of course.
Coming off the back of a tremendous season with Barcelona, where he scored 22 goals in La Liga from the left side of the attack, Neymar is full of confidence and ability, and he even seems to grow further in stature when playing in the yellow of his nation.
Quite aside from his great control and composed finishing, Neymar is the captain and leader of the team who acts both as playmaker and chief goal threat, including from set pieces. Much of how far the Selecao go in Chile will be determined by how fit he is and how well he plays.
One to Watch
There are several choices, but the installation of Roberto Firmino as first-choice centre-forward is an exciting and adventurous one by Dunga.
The 23-year-old Hoffenheim attacker can usually be seen operating slightly deeper, but his ability to get beyond the defence and be a scoring presence as well as drop into space and help fashion chances means there is good positional rotation in Brazil’s attack, key to opening up tight defences.
Firmino has two in four at senior level for Brazil and, if he can swap positions and play off Philippe Coutinho with pace and movement at times, the entire front line could be hugely problematic for teams to deal with.
Brazil might be kings as far as the World Cup goes, but they place “only” third in Copa America wins of all time. They have, though, won two of the four tournaments since the turn of the century and four of the last six.
Winners: Eight (1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2007)
Last four: 10
Most recent finishes:
14 June, 6:30 p.m. (CLT)—Estadio Municipal German Becker, Temuco
Brazil vs. Peru
17 June, 9 p.m. (CLT)—Estadio Monumental David Arellano, Santiago
Brazil vs. Colombia
21 June, 6:30 p.m. (CLT)—Estadio Monumental David Arellano, Santiago
Brazil vs. Venezuela