With Luiz Felipe Scolari set to name his squad on Tuesday, GBGT checks in with those hoping to earn a recall ahead of Brazil's clash with South Africa in JohannesburgOn Tuesday Luiz Felipe Scolari will announce the list of players who will compete in March’s friendly against South Africa, in what will be his last Brazil squad before announcing the final 23 for this year’s World Cup.
And while those who joined him in North America for Gillette Brasil Global Tour fixtures against Honduras and Chile will be hoping to retain their spots, GBGT checked in with those hoping to receive a timely recall.
Alexandre Pato, who had not been featuring much for Corinthians, has left the club - now coached by former Selecao boss Mano Menezes – to join Sao Paulo. The 24-year-old has already played five games for Corinthians in the Campeonato Paulista and so is now ineligible to take to the field for his new club in that competition. He won’t return until Sao Paulo begin their Copa do Brasil campaign in March and is unlikely to make the cut.
Leandro Damiao finally made his debut with new club Santos this past week. He found the net, but his debut celebrations were cut short by an offside flag. His side ran out 2-1 winners against Linense and have made a good start to the Paulista. The former Internacional frontman played for 80 minutes, during which he went close and looked particularly dangerous on the end of crosses.
Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson, who was disappointed to be left out of Felipao’s previous squad following a clean sheet against South Korea in October, had a fantastic week. He led his side to a 4-0 victory over Deportivo Quito to secure Botafogo’s return to the Copa Libertadores after a 17-year absence.
“I congratulate everyone,” he said. “When we entered (at Maracana) we all shivered. This crowd was wonderful."
It wasn’t such a happy week for Confederations Cup hero Fred, however. The Fluminense forward once again felt the thigh injury that saw him miss large parts of last season and will now be out for at least another ten days.
He did not participate in the derby against Flamengo, but goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri did and he will also be among those hoping he gets a call from Felipao on Tuesday after keeping a clean sheet against Zambia in October.
Henrique completed his move to from Palmeiras to Napoli but was an unused substitute in his side’s victory over Milan on Saturday, while fellow defender Dede helped Cruzeiro to a 3-1 victory over Villa Nova on Wednesday.
Philippe Coutinho will be dreaming of a surprise inclusion in the squad. His Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez leant his support to the 21-year-old’s cause, saying: “Coutinho is a great player and is showing that he has the quality to play both Liverpool and the national team. I'm proud to be playing with him.”
His Premier League counterpart Fernandinho was also hoping to seal a return to the international scene, but is currently out with a muscle injury. He has said that he hopes to return in time for Manchester City’s Champions League clash with Barcelona on February 18, however, and will be hoping Felipao takes the gamble.
There appears to be a midfield place up for grabs following the injury of Lucas Leiva, and Shakhtar midfielder Fernando will be hoping to beat Fernandinho to that slot following a week in which he helped the Ukrainians to friendly victories over CSKA and Pandurii. Another contender for that role, Tottenham’s Sandro, was forced to sit out this past weekend with a calf injury.
Lucas Moura was a surprise omission last time out and will be hoping Scolari saw his 80 minutes in PSG’s 1-1 draw with Monaco on Sunday.