Coral’s Brazil XI of players Scolari left out of World Cup
Following last night’s sensational collapse to Germany, Brazil and everyone connected with Samba Boys soccer are picking up the pieces.
National coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was gracious in his handling of the 7-1 rout, telling the world to blame him for his tactical choices and selections. Well, Big Phil, we’ll do just that, then.
Coral experts have put their heads together and come up with an alternative XI comprised of names Scolari chose to leave behind. Some of them were markedly more successful at club level than the players picked by Felipao.
Fiorentina stopper Neto played in the Coppa Italia final last term, albeit in a losing effort. He kept a dozen Serie A clean sheets and 16 in all competitions. The Viola number one averaged a shut-out once every three matches under Vincenzo Montella and, unlike Brazil’s first-choice Julio Cesar, played regularly.
Right back: Rafinha
Omitting this Bundesliga champion and DFB Pokal winner from last term may have been one of the biggest mistakes made by Scolari. Rafinha has had two hugely successful seasons at Bayern Munich. He played 46 times under Pep Guardiola, but Big Phil stuck with old guard Dani Alves and Maicon, and experienced disastrous results.
Centre back: Marquinhos
PSG youngster Marquinhos, like Rafinha, got just a cursory glance from Scolari, but the Brazil boss decided this tournament came too early for the highly-rated 20-year-old. Parc des Princes boss Laurent Blanc must be wondering if it was wise to purchase compatriot David Luiz after his calamitous showing at the back for the Samba Boys.
Centre back: Miranda
The first of two La Liga title winners with Atletico Madrid, rugged defender Miranda would have added some much needed aggression to Brazil’s play. Scolari had Dante and Napoli’s Henrique in reserve behind Luiz and skipper Thiago Silva, who sat out the semi suspended. Miranda made a massive contribution to the 20 clean sheets kept by Atletico last term, but his international credentials were ignored.
Left back: Filipe Luis
Joining his Vicente Calderon clubmate in our alternative XI is another name snubbed by Scolari. Ageing PSG player Maxwell was taken as backup to Marcelo, who set the tone for his dismal tournament in the curtain raiser against Croatia by scoring an own goal. Filipe Luis made five assists, to go with those 20 clean sheets, as Atletico were crowned champions of Spain.
Defensive midfield: Fernando Reges
New Manchester City signing Fernando is uncapped by the country of his birth, and had a bid to change international allegiance to Portugal blocked by FIFA. How Scolari must dearly wish he had included another expert midfield destroyer in his squad. Fernando may be a player brought into the Brazil fold sooner rather than later if his move to the Etihad proves successful.
Defensive midfield: Lucas Leiva
Liverpool holding player Luca Leiva lost his place in the Samba Boys squad just before the tournament. Like Fernando, he could have helped to form an effective shield in front of the back four, but instead box-to-box players Paulinho and Fernandinho flopped big time playing respective halves against Germany.
Right wing: Lucas Moura
This became a glaring omission on Scolari’s part the moment Neymar was nobbled. Big Phil went with the diminutive Bernard and Willian of Chelsea as cover in wide and advanced midfield areas instead. Only James Rodriguez made more assists than PSG’s Lucas Moura in Ligue 1 last season. Another top-flight title winner overlooked, then.
Attacking midfield: Philippe Coutinho
Every Premier League fan ended up asking the same question when Brazil’s World Cup roster was announced; ‘where is Coutinho?’ The skilful Kop idol was never in favour under Scolari, but that may rapidly change in the coming months. Nobody is saying Coutinho would have got past Oscar into the starting XI, but he could’ve at least competed with him.
Left wing: Robinho
AC Milan had a difficult season last term, but there is a lot to be said for taking an experienced attacking option. Robinho, for all the Rossoneri woes in 2013/14, would have fit that description perfectly. Either off the front or on either wing, he may have offered something guileful. Scolari decided against his inclusion, however, instead placing blind faith in physical specimen Hulk.
Striker: Alexandre Pato
Nicknamed ‘the Duck’ because of his unusual running gait, Pato would have been a far more mobile, and therefore fluid, option to lumbering target man Fred up top for the Samba Boys. His loan move to Sao Paulo from Corinthians earlier this year caused consternation back in Brazil, but Scolari decided against injecting pace into the his main striking berth by choosing ex-Everton and Man City flop Jo as backup.