RIO DE JANEIRO: Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has been recalled by Brazil for the World Cup hosts’ warm-up friendly against South Africa on March 5 in Johannesburg writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Fernandinho has been in outstanding form for free-scoring City in his first season in the English Premier League.
He has played for the national team before but not since Luiz Felipe Scolari took over as coach in November 2012. Now he benefits from injury to Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva and is one of seven Premier-based players in the 16-strong squad.
Also handed a first chance is rightback Rafinha of world and European champions Bayern Munich. The role has been held in recent games by Maicon.
World Cup veterans such as Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho have all been left out in the cold. But not goalkeeper Julio Cesar even if the Confederations Cup-winner has played only once this season for Queens Park Rangers in the English second division.
Regulars included in squad include Barcelona striker Neymar, though he is still recovering from injury, Daniel Alves and Thiago Silva. Scolari’s selection comprises entirely foreign-based players because domestic players are only just about to resume competitive action after the close season.
The friendly against South Africa is the last before Scolari names his squad for World Cup though further friendlies have been lined up including one against Serbia on June 4.
This is eight days before Brazil open ‘their’ World Cup finals against Croatia in Sao Paulo.
Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers)
Daniel Alves (Barcelona)
Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Rafinha (Bayern Munich)
Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain)
David Luiz (Chelsea)
Dante (Bayern Munich)
Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg)
Fernandinho (Manchester City)
Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk)