November's Gillette International Soccer Series offers an opportunity for a number of players on the periphery of the Brazil squad to stake their claim for a more permanent roleIt’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. A World Cup home soil is an experience reserved for a select few.
And with just one more Fifa date prior to the World Cup squad being announced, time is fast running out for those on the periphery of the Brazil squad.
The Gillette International Soccer Series has handed a lifeline to some. AC Milan forward Robinho, Chelsea midfielder Willian and PSG defender Marquinhos were handed their call ups by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari for the clashes with Honduras and Chile and will be desperate to make a good impression.
An injury to Real Madrid’s Marcelo means the left-back slot will be filled by Maxwell, who at 32 is well aware that 2014 represents his last chance at representing his country on the biggest stage of all.
Felipao has repeatedly reminded his players of the importance of establishing a positive group dynamic and so those vying for a regular place in the squad will be conscious that training sessions and extracurricular activities will hold just as much importance as game days.
“Both games will be very important, especially for me,” said Willian this week. Sentiments echoed by Atletico Mineiro goalkeeper Victor, who knows what it’s like to miss out after he failed to make Dunga’s final cut for World Cup 2010.
“What happened in 2010 served as a lesson,” the Libertadores-winning custodian told Globo. “Anxiety [at this stage] is normal, but you have channel to it into motivation.”
Robinho was recalled after a two-year absence, with his versatility highlighted by Scolari following the announcement of the former Santos man’s return. The 29-year-old scored Brazil’s third the last time Brazil faced Chile in a competitive international, securing a 3-0 victory that booked his side a World Cup quarter-final against Netherlands at South Africa 2010. He was handed a surprise call-up is another out to make an impression this month.
“Thank you, Brazil!” he tweeted. “It feels like my first time.”
Brazil arrive in Miami boasting an impressive record, both in recent and distant memory. USA has proved a fruitful destination for the Selecao, who have recorded 26 wins and eight draws in their 39 matches played in the country.
Their first game in the United States took place in May 1976, when Brazil beat England 1-0 thanks to a Roberto Dinamite goal, while the Selecao’s most recent visit to North America saw them record a 3-1 victory over Portugal in Massachusetts.
That win was one of 10 that have arrived in Brazil’s last 11 outings, a record kicked off with a 3-0 victory over France prior to the five in a row that led Scolari’s charges to Confederations Cup glory.
“Scolari has done as Joao Saldanha did in 1970,” World Cup-winning captain Carlos Alberto Torres, who has joined the Selecao in the United States, told Globo. “He has defined his base. Now they must keep improving.”
Brazil face Honduras in Miami on Novermber 16 and Chile in Toronto on November 19.