Sky Sports correspondent and Brazlian football expert Paulo Freitas writes the latest piece in our ‘World Cup Watch’ series, focusing on Brazilian footballers currently playing their football in the French leagues. There is some analysis of each player, followed by a rating of their chance of making the Brazil squad.
Brazil have been given the title of favourites by many pundits worldwide. The Green and Yellow’s showed their strength when they blew World and European Champions Spain away in the Confederations Cup final, and the home support that their country will give them will be a huge boost to their chances of winning a sixth World Cup. There are plenty of Brazilians plying their trade in the French leagues, but which players have the best chance of making the squad, and even the starting line up? Let’s find out…
Alex – PSG
The experienced centreback has not been called up for Brazil’s national team squad since 2010, and thus has never been called up by current manager Scolari. The lack of friendlies before the World Cup means there will be no chance for Scolari to experiment, so Alex’s chances are very small.
Brandão – Saint-Étienne
As a player that has never been called up for Brazil’s national team and failed to impress while on loan to Cruzeiro and Grêmio in 2011, his chances are tiny. The fact he has openly admitted that he would be willing to play for France also contributes to lowering his chances.
Lucas Mendes – Marseille
As like some of the other France-based defenders and fullbacks, Lucas Mendes’ chances are virtually non-existent as he has never been called up before and he faces strong competition in the left-back and centreback positions.
Lucas Moura – PSG
Despite his pace and technique, Lucas Moura has failed to impress at the Brazilian national team, losing his first team spot to Hulk and then losing a spot on Brazil’s bench to Bernard. A problem he has shown at the national team is that he was often too nervous and eager to impress, rather than just playing his game.
As both Hulk and Bernard have done well at the national team and look set to be called up, it seems Lucas Moura will only get a place in the World Cup if either of them gets injured or suspended.
Marquinhos – PSG
The young centreback is a sort of wildcard when it comes to making it into the World Cup squad. He has been called up a couple of times and impressed Luiz Felipe Scolari, but he is fighting for a place in the squad against more experienced players such as Dedé and Réver.
What may count in his favor is the fact the other three centrebacks (Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Dante) are fully established at the national team, allowing Scolari to be bolder regarding the fourth centreback spot.
Mariano – Bordeaux
The former Fluminense right-back has never been called up by Luiz Felipe Scolari and since Daniel Alves is well established while Maicon and Rafinha are fighting for the remaining spot, only a miracle would allow Mariano to be in the World Cup squad.
Maxwell – PSG
Maxwell is a strong contender for the second left-back spot, having been called up for the friendly against Chile in November, ahead of other options such as Filipe, who has not been called up since the Confederations Cup.
A potential threat to his place in Brazil’s squad will be if Scolari decides to bring only one fullback, besides Marcelo and Thiago Silva, rather than keeping Brazil’s tradition of having two right-backs and two left-backs in the World Cup.
Thiago Silva – PSG
As the captain and one of the main players in Brazil’s national team, Thiago Silva will only miss the World Cup if he gets injured or suspended.
Thiago Silva is widely regarded in Brazil and abroad as one of the best in the world in his position, and quality aside, he is also one of the most respected players in the squad and thus he has no reason to worry about his place in Brazil’s World Cup list.