Wednesday, Brazilian national football team coach, Luis Felipe Scolari, announced the 23 man squad he will use as hosts of the World Cup 2014 tournament this summer. The early announcement underlines both the set nature of the coaching staff's roster selections (few names are surprises and most have been on the list for as long as the coach has been in charge) and Scolari's wish that the players begin bonding and training as soon as possible. It also demonstrates just how much the team will be relying on the creativity of Oscar and Neymar as the only two truly creative players on the roster.
The squads for the cup will not become official until FIFA confirm them on May 16th. But Scolari's choices breakdown as follows: Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC), Jefferson (Botafogo), and Victor (Atletico Mineiro); Defenders: Dante (Bayern Munich), David Luiz (Chelsea), Henrique (Napoli), Thiago Silva (PSG), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (Roma), Marcelo (Real Madrid), and Maxwell (PSG); Midfielders: Fernandinho (Manchester City), Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Hernanes (Inter Milan), Oscar (Chelsea), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Paulinho (Tottenham), Ramires (Chelsea), and Willian (Chelsea); and Strikers: Fred (Fluminense), Hulk (Zenit Saint-Petersburg), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), and Neymar (Barcelona).
Among the interesting omissions are Kaka (AC Milan) who is having a great season, Robinho who played well in his last few outings with the selecao, and Rafinha who had played well of late for the national team and is in great from at Bayern Munich. Among Scolari's steadfast if questionable choices are Hernanes who has never lived up to his potential at Inter or on the national team, Jo who has yet to show a strong reason for his constant choice on offense, and the duo of Fred and Hulk who have shown only glimpses of prowess at home this season and on the international arena this year.
In short, this is close to the team that was expected and with it Brazil should easily move onto the semifinals before meeting any true competition. As mentioned before that is when the promise of Scolari's choices and Neymar's form will come due.
Scolari's choices will fly home at the end of May to the recently refurbished Granja Comary training complex in Teresopolis. The squad will then play a June 3rd friendly against Panama at Goiana and a final warm-up against Serbia three days later in Sao Paulo before playing the opening match of the cup at the Corinthians Arena on 12 June against Croatia.