Philippe Coutinho Axed for Kaka in Brazil Squad for Costa Rica, USA Friendlies

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 13, 2015

Brazil's midfielder Philippe Coutinho (C) is marked by Paraguay's forward Edgar Benitez (L) and defender Ivan Piris during their 2015 Copa America football championship quarter-final match, in Concepcion, Chile, on June 27, 2015.   AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ        (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
YURI CORTEZ/Getty Images

Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been omitted from the Brazil squad that will face Costa Rica and the United States in September, with 33-year-old Selecao veteran Kaka taking his place.  

The Brazilian Football Confederation's official Twitter account confirmed the 24-man squad on Thursday (tweet in Portuguese). The Guardian's Rupert Fryer quoted national team manager Dunga, who attempted to justify his selection:

CBF Futebol @CBF_Futebol

Confira a lista completa! #ConvocaçãodaSeleção http://t.co/vhUjtBEer8

Rupert Fryer @Rupert_Fryer

Kaka replaces Coutinho for #Brasil. "Coutinho had a chance at Copa America. We need experience, not just youngsters" - Dunga.

The news come just days after Coutinho struck a magnificent, long-range winner for the Reds in their 1-0 victory against Stoke City to open Liverpool's Premier League campaign in triumphant fashion.

Ironically, the 23-year-old's form was recently praised by none other than Kaka, per the official Liverpool Twitter account, where the Orlando City playmaker projected Coutinho "can be a very important player for Brazil":

Liverpool FC @LFC

"I have been a big admirer of @Phil_Coutinho," says @KAKA. "He can be a very important player for #LFC and Brazil." http://t.co/4D3FUMPPrU

It leads one to question what Coutinho must do in order to gain prominence among the national team. His form at the Copa America may not have inspired, but one might be inclined to agree many within the Brazil squad were similarly disappointing.

ORLANDO, FL - AUGUST 08: Kaka #10 of Orlando City SC is seen walking off the pitch after a MLS soccer match between the Philadelphia Union and the Orlando City SC at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on August 8, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The game ended in a 0-0 dr
Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Earlier this year, it was reported that Nike and other sponsors of the Brazil national team would undergo investigation for alleged corruption and dabbling in matters beyond their authority, per Reuters (h/t Daily Mail).

South American football writer Tim Stillman notes that when asked whether Kaka's selection was related to "image reasons," Dunga was "unconvincing" in his reply:

Tim Stillman @Stillberto

Dunga (unconvincingly) refuting a question as to whether Kaká's selection over Coutinho is for "image" reasons.

After showing so much potential early in his career, Coutinho is finally hitting the heights once expected of him after a murky period in his career that saw him loaned from Internazionale to Vasco da Gama and Espanyol.

Even a lead role at Anfield doesn't seem sufficient enough to cement the playmaker's place in the Selecao, with Kaka poised to earn his 90th international cap, while Coutinho remains stuck on 13, per Soccerway.


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