2010 World Cup Squads – Brazil
With the absence of Ronaldinho, Adriano and Ronaldo from the final Brazil squad, along with the earlier retirements of the likes of Cafu and Roberto Carlos, we can definitively say that we have moved into a new era for the Selecao. The squad is close to that of the winning Confederations Cup side from last year. It is a side largely inexperienced on the big international stage, albeit with a few familiar faces helping guide them along, such as captain Lucio and centre-back partner Juan, midfield rock Gilberto Silva, and of course Kaka, without whom this team would be much less imposing.
Dunga, as a former holding midfielder himself, has concentrated on the defence much more than his predecessors, building the team around a solid midfield rather than a particularly attacking one – in the Confederations Cup, it was around Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo. It still has all the hallmarks of a typical Brazilian team, though – the freshness of youth should give it that extra bit of flare that the ageing team somewhat lacked in the last tournament, whilst right back Maicon is another attacking wing-back in the Roberto Carlos/Cafu mould, and Luis Fabiano is a goal poacher of the highest calibre with 25 goals in 36 international appearances – this tournament could definitely be the making of him if Brazil go all the way.
But whilst Brazil remain one of the favourites, with pundits citing their increased defensive strength and irresistible form in the Confed Cup, I am not so convinced. Experience is crucial at this level, and whilst I have no doubt that the players in the side are talented enough, I do have doubts as to whether they can go the distance in this long tournament – they only just scraped past the USA in the Confed Cup final thanks to a late collapse, but in a situation like that in the World Cup it would be far more difficult to dig out of. The problem is whilst they don’t have experience, a lot of these players are now not particularly young either – most are now reaching their peak, having been held out of the international side by the previous generation staying on a bit longer and keeping them out. In 4 years time, a lot of them will be beyond it. Is this their only chance?