07 May 2014 | News Comments

Coutinho & Lucas fail to make Brazil squad

Napoli defender Henrique was the only surprise inclusion when Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari named his provisional 23-man squad for the World Cup.

The squad, which will be aiming to win the title for a record sixth time, features Barcelona striker Neymar and will be captained by Paris St Germain defender Thiago Silva.

Scolari kept faith with most of the players who triumphed at last year's Confederations Cup on home soil, meaning AC Milan playmaker Kaka and Atletico Mineiro forward Ronaldinho were among the big names to miss out, with Liverpool midfielders Philipps Coutinho and Lucas Leiva, Sao Paulo's on-loan Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato and Paris St Germain winger Lucas Moura also overlooked.

Henrique, who has played just 71 minutes at international level but worked under Scolari at Palmeiras, won out over Atletico Madrid's in-form defender Miranda and PSG's youngster Marquinhos for the spot as fourth central defender.

Scolari, who guided Brazil to their fifth World Cup in Japan in 2002, took Brazil to the Confederations Cup crown summer, beating Italy, Uruguay and Spain on their way to the title.

The team has won 13 of their last 14 matches and is favourite to win the first World Cup to be played in Brazil since 1950.

The players will meet up on 26 May in Rio de Janeiro and play two friendlies against Panama and Serbia before opening their World Cup campaign against Croatia in Sao Paulo on 12 June. Brazil will also face Mexico and Cameroon in Group A.

Brazil's provisional 23-man squad for the World Cup finals: 
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Atletico Mineiro).
Defenders: Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (AS Roma), Maxwell, Thiago Silva (both Paris St Germain), David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Henrique (Napoli).
Midfielders: Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur), Ramires, Willian, Oscar (all Chelsea), Hernanes (Inter Milan), Luiz Gustavo (VfL Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Manchester City).
Forwards: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Neymar (Barcelona), Fred (Fluminense), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg).