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Despite Focusing On The Olympics, Brazil Can Still Do Well At The Copa America

There are a few mysteries in life we might never get the answers to. Where did we come from? Where do we go? And what goes on inside of Dunga’s head?


Photo: @futbolsapiens | Twitter

That last one might just be the biggest question of them all if you follow the Brazilian National Team. Time and time again the Brazilian manager never fails to surprise fans with his national team call-ups. Unfortunately, for him, they are rarely for the best. 

It all started with his selection for the 2010 World Cup roster in his first stint as a national team manager. On that occasion, Dunga went against the will of the people and refused to add a young Neymar to his squad and ended up getting fired after Wesley Sneijder and his Netherlands team sent Brazil home in the quarter-finals. 

Now with his call-up to the Copa America in the US, Dunga insists on making bold calls. This time by not selecting PSG’s Thiago Silva and Real Madrid’s Marcelo, arguably the best defender and the best left back in the world today, respectively.

Either way, Brazil has something to prove. The five-time World Cup winners are currently on a nine-year hiatus (Confederations Cups not included) from major titles. Oddly enough, Dunga was the coach in Brazil’s last major title, the 2007 Copa America. 

Now they go to the US without three of the four players the country had who were selected for the 2015 FIFA/FIFPro World XI as Neymar will play the Olympics instead of the Copa America. 


Brazil's Players To Watch:

Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool fans have been waiting for this for years, but the time is finally here. Coutinho should be the protagonist for Brazil. 

In the absence of Neymar, the stage is set for Coutinho to find his place in the national team. Still, The Magician will have to convince Dunga he is the man for the job. In Brazil’s 4-3-3 Coutinho will have to fight off Beijing Guoan’s Renato Augusto, Barcelona’s Rafinha and Santos’s Lucas Lima for a starting spot. 

Renato Augusto has been Dunga’s man so far in the South American World Cup Qualifiers, but there is a solid case to be made that Coutinho’s form in Europe has a good deal more value than what Augusto has been doing in China. 

Liverpool’s Player of the Year has the skills and the opportunity to succeed. Now he’ll have to convince his coach that the time is here. 

Douglas Costa

Other than the rebirth of Chicharito, there was no bigger story in Germany than the rise of Douglas Costa. The Brazilian speedster arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk in July for €30 million and proved he was worth every penny. Bayern fans were worried about the constant injuries to Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben at the beginning of the season. Well, Douglas Costa made all of those worries disappear in the blink of an eye. 

He took over Bayern’s wing and provided Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski with the attacking mate they needed. Costa raised hell on defenses with his skill and speed, finishing the season as Bayern’s assist leader with nine in the Bundesliga. 

To cap off his fantastic season in Germany, Costa netted the final penalty kick and lifted Bayern to the DFB-Pokal title. 

With Neymar off the squad, Costa will be the man to watch in that left wing. 


The explosive winger has had one thing in common both in his national team campaign and his season with Chelsea. Willian has been a pillar of consistency for both in turbulent times. While Chelsea struggled and even reached a point where they seemed to be in real trouble of having to fight relegation, Willian was still performing. 

He was the only Chelsea player in the UEFA Champions League Team of the Group Stage. The Brazilian also led the team with five goals in eight matches in the Champions League. 

His latest performances for Brazil have proven the same as he was the catalyst in turning Brazil’s fortunes with two goals in the country’s 3-1 win against Venezuela, their first win in the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifiers. Willian also has three assists in the competition, which means he had a direct participation in almost half of Brazil’s goals in the competition. 

The demand for leadership from him will certainly rise, but skill and form wise, Willian is up for the challenge of leading this Neymar-less squad. 

Brazil's Players Who Can Surprise:


The Santos youngster will have his shot to show what he’s made of. Gabriel “Gabigol” should come off the bench for Dunga still in the group stage, and the world audience will have a first chance to watch what the youngster who was labeled the next Neymar can do. 

Wanted by some of Europe’s biggest clubs, the 19-year-old is valued at £9 million by Transfermarkt and has a £40 million buyout clause. Gabigol has scored over 600 goals in his youth career and most recently 17 goals in 47 appearances for Santos in 2015. 

Should Dunga give him a chance in the US, the youngster could make that £9.00m figure rise a good deal. 

Notable Absences: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Kaka, David Luiz, Oscar.

Complete 23-Man Brazil Roster:

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Internacional), Diego Alves (Valencia), Ederson (Benfica).

Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Fabinho (Monaco), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Douglas Santos (Atletico Mineiro), Miranda (Inter Milan), Gil (Shandong Luneng), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Rodrigo Caio (Sao Paulo).

Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Elias (Corinthians), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Rafinha (Barcelona), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Lucas Lima (Santos), Willian (Chelsea).

Forwards: Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich), Hulk (Zenit), Jonas (Benfica), Gabriel (Santos).

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