Gilette Brasil Global Tour

Brazil coach Felipao retained the bulk of his Confederations Cup heroes for his World Cup 2014 squad but sprang a surprise with the recall of Napoli defender Henrique

Brazil Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari never hid his desire to contest the World Cup with the majority of those who led the Selecao to Confederations Cup glory last year.

Before announcing the names of the 23 who will compete for Brazil’s sixth world title, Scolari repeatedly stated that his squad will contain only few surprises. And indeed, there were a handful, with Maicon, Henrique, Hernanes and Maxwell returning to the squad after being left out of March’s trip to Johannesburg.

Scolari has placed his faith in the class of 2014, only six of whom have World Cup experience. But with just two defeats in his 20 games, Felipao knows they haven’t let him down yet.

Goalkeepers

Julio Cesar (Toronto FC): The first to be assured a place at the World Cup by Scolari, he featured in the Confederations Cup and kept goal during World Cup 2010. At 34, the Toronto FC goalkeeper is one of the most experienced members of the group.

Jefferson (Botafogo): The Botafogo goalkeeper has put in some good performances both in training and in games, and Scolari knows him well from his time at Curzeiro, when Jefferson was just 17. His relaxed character fits the group well and he will likely be first reserve to Julio Cesar.

Victor (Atletico Mineiro): The key to Atletoco Mineiro’s 2013 Libertadores Cup triumph, the goalkeeper has maintained his fine form to become one of Galo’s most important players.

Defenders

David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain): The Chelsea central defender made a decisive clearance off the line in the Confederations Cup final against Spain and takes his role as second captain very seriously, leading the group both on and off the pitch. He also provides an extra option in midfield and has seen more minutes on the field than any other defender under Felipao.

Dante (Bayern Munich): Cheerful and the group's finest musician, the Bayern Munich defender joined the squad just before the Confederations Cup and already has two goals in his 11 appearances for the Selecao. He is first reserve to the defensive partnership of Thiago Silva and David Luiz.

Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain): The captain. The group’s leader, the PSG defender is focused and often quiet in social settings but can roar as loud as anyone else on the field. Seen by many as the finest central defender in world football, he may well have the honour of lifting Brazil’s sixth world title.

Henrique (Napoli): As the world waited to hear the name of Atletico Madrid defender Miranda, Scolari instead announced the Napoli man has his choice. The two know each other well from their time together at Palmeiras and is trusted both personally and professionally by Fleipao. His versatility is also an asset as he can play in the middle of the defence, at the base of midfield or at right back.

Daniel Alves (Barcelona): The 31-year-old Barcelona man bring World Cup experience after his time with Dunga’s 2010 side. Often seen marauding down the right flank, his ability to get forward and link with the attacking line of three could be vital to Brazil’s hopes.

Maicon (Roma): Was left out of the group for the match with South Africa but had previously impressed, particularly in November’s tour of North America where he scored in the 5-0 victory over Honduras. Another with World Cup experience.

Marcelo (Real Madrid): The side of Real Madrid is in absolute position. It has only 25, but extensive experience in European football . Offensive, a bit temperamental , but key player in the scheme Scolari .

Maxwell (Paris Saint-Germain): The Singapore shone in the " selection " mounted by PSG . Discreet but efficient , was gradually gaining the position .

Midfielders

Oscar (Chelsa): The Chelsea midfielder is the brain Scolari’s team. Arguably the most important player in the side, his precise passing, ability to interchange with those around him to those and willingness to work off the ball have made him a Felipao favourite.

Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg): The holding midfielder. Scolari has always been fond of a good ‘steering wheel’ and the Wolfsburg man has been the first name on the team sheet since the Confederations Cup, for which he was a surprise selection.

Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur): On of those assured a place in the squad long before the official announcement, he has played over 1,300 minutes of the 20 games for which Scolari has been in charge – more than any other midfielder. He is the shuttle in the midfield and his excellent timing of the forward run makes him a constant goal threat.

Ramires (Chelsea): A neat finisher and excellent in the tackle, the Chelsea midfielder was in and out of the squad but eventually earned his place with some fine, controlled performances. His lung power and ability to defend and get forward offers Scolari a more balanced midfielder.

Willian (Chelsea): His performances for Chelsea and in the last three friendlies prior to the squad announcement sealed his role in the side. A new-found defensive work-rate has impressed Scolari and he will hope to beat Hulk to the right-sided attacking role.

Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk): The boy with “Joy in the legs”, as Scolari puts it. Slight, tiny, but very quick and a wonderful dribbler, he played a major role in Atletico Mineiro’s Copa Libertadores win before switching to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine. Just as lively off the pitch, he’s a real favourite in the group.

Fernandinho (Manchester City): Returned from the international wilderness for Match’s friendly against South Africa and capped a fine display with a wonderful goal, immediately cementing his place in the squad. He will hope to edge out Luiz Gustavo in the holding midfield role but also poses a threat to Paulinho’s place.

Hernanes (Inter Milan): The Inter Milan playmaker was left out of the most recent squad and would have been relieved to hear his name called by Scolari on Wednesday. Brilliant with both feet, his crisp passing can unlock any defence in world football.

Forwards

Neymar (Barcelona): The star of the team, he’ll wear the prestigious no.10 jersey and is seen as a potential star star of the World Cup. He has featured more than any other player since Scolari took charge and with 13 goals and 10 assists during that time, nobody has contributed more goals.
 
Hulk (Zenit): The Zenit star please his coach by showing he can play for the collective and scored his first goal under Scolari in the 5-0 victory over Honduras. Very strong physically and with one of the most powerful shots in the game, more are likely to follow.

Fred (Fluminense): Brazil’s undisputed no.9, only Neymar has bettered his 9 goals under Scolari – which would likely not be the case had Fred not missed the majority of the last 12 months through injury. Top-scorer at the Confederations Cup with 5 goals, his excellent finishing could well fire Brazil to glory.

Jo (Atletico Mineiro): Totally revitalised since returning to Brazil in 2012, he has proved adequate cover for Fred. Fine in the air and confident with his back to goal, he is also a constant danger in the penalty area.