International qualifiers and friendlies upon us, we look to the wit and wisdom of our Brazilian correspondent Mark Gannon to sort through the samba boys selection vs Scotland for this Sunday, and answer the question, why no Robinho?
FWIW, Mano says he’s letting Robinho rest now, but that he’ll be counting on Robinho for Copa América. And he made a point of reminding everyone that Robinho has been on every one of Mano’s previous lists.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Mano go wild testing players for a few games, but I also wouldn’t mind if he started to settle on a group of starters. Either way. I don’t see what he sees in André Santos, but finally Marcelo is getting some love, even if in Mano’s mind he’s just André’s backup. If I were Marcelo, I probably would have gone postal early last year when people were talking about Roberto Carlos (ferchrissakes) on the squad for the World Cup, and they weren’t joking.
I was just saying yesterday that Maicon is somebody who could still help the team. It’s really too bad there’s no way to have two right wingbacks. Call it the US journalism formation or something. I don’t care. It would put Dani Alves and Maicon on the field at the same time for the same team. Dani is versatile enough to play either wingback position or a midfield position, but his natural and best position is the same as Maicon’s. This is a good kind of problem to have.
It’s kind of entertaining that there are two players called Lucas on this list. There’s the young attacking middie from São Paulo (DAMN HIM) who played really well in the U20 South American championship and there’s the volante Lucas y’all prob’ly know from Liverpool. I don’t know much about the Liverpool Lucas. I’ve seen him play for the seleção a few times, and I caught part of a Tottenham game once. I was never overwhelmed, but I assumed there was a reason he was getting paid well to play in England and why he was on the seleção several times.
The other Lucas, who was really good in the recent U20 South American championship, just signed a 5-year contract with São Paulo. He’d pretty much have to get into a fist fight with Mano on TV in order to not be part of the Olympic seleção. Of the players on the roster for the game against Scotland, four are young enough to play for the olympic team: Pato, Neymar, Sandro (volante, formerly of Inter de Porto Alegre and now playing for Tottenham), and the Lucas from São Paulo.
As a side note, Brazil has not won a gold medal in men’s soccer. Argentina has won two. Now maybe you can start to imagine how people take this seriously here. I would have focused on the 2014 team more than the 2012 team, but Mano says that even the Olympic team’s development is “integrated” with the development of the main men’s team. It helps that Neymar and Ganso are 19 and 20, and Sandro and the SPFC Lucas are also young enough to play on the Olympic team and good enough to play on the main “all ages” team.
Interesting to see the return of Nilmar. In 2006, I thought he should not only be on the team, but prob’ly a starter. To my eye, there was no better Brazilian forward at that time. The fact that Parreira insisted on not only taking, but also starting, Adriano and Ronaldo when both were way out of shape is just one of many things that irritate me about him. Nilmar’s speed added an interesting dimension to the seleção when he played in 2010. My sister thought he was about 14, but he was actually 26. At age 30 in 2014, he might not have lost his speed yet, so there’s a chance we may actually see him on the squad for the big show. I was under the impression that he hadn’t been playing all that well lately, but he has been pretty good for some time now, both for his clubs and for the seleção.
The non-volante midfielder list looks kinda weird to me. Is Mano going to go with Renato Augusto in the #10 again? I hope to see a few players get a shot at that, because I’m worried about what happens if Ganso, who hasn’t played in about a year, isn’t Ganso when he comes back. I managed to miss the France-Brazil game, but folks down here who did see it were very unhappy with Renato Augusto’s performance. The only thing that got worse reviews was Hernanes’s hommage to Anderson Silva.