Maicon, Ramires back in Brazil team for friendlies
SAO PAULO (AP) — World Cup veteran right back Maicon and Chelsea midfielder Ramires are back in Brazil’s squad for the friendlies against Australia and Portugal in September.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari also picked goalkeeper Julio Cesar even though the player hasn’t participated in an official match since the Confederations Cup.
Maicon, newly signed by AS Roma, was Brazil’s starter in the 2010 World Cup but had lost his spot in the national team, while Ramires had been left out of the Confederations Cup squad after failing to report to the team on time before a friendly.
Brazil will face Australia on Sept. 7 in the capital of Brasilia and then plays Portugal three days later in Boston.
Brazil is coming off a 1-0 loss to Switzerland, a result that halted Brazil’s six-match winning streak and ended its 11-match unbeaten run. Brazil hadn’t lost since a 2-1 result against England in a friendly in London in February, a match that marked Scolari’s return to the national team.
Scolari again picked the same squad that won the Confederations Cup in June. The starting 11 from the 3-0 victory against Spain in the final of the World Cup warm-up tournament were summoned, including strikers Neymar and Fred, midfielder Oscar and defenders Thiago Silva and David Luiz. The newcomers are Paris Saint-Germain’s left back Maxwell and Palmeiras defender Henrique.
Ronaldinho and Kaka again were left out of the team.
Maicon played for Brazil in the 2011 Copa America but had never been picked by Scolari since the coach took over the squad.
“The information we have is that he is doing very well and is in good condition,” Scolari said. “We picked Maicon for these friendlies so we can take a close look at him and to see if we can keep him in the squad from now on.”
Scolari said he is satisfied with his current starting right back, Barcelona’s Daniel Alves, but feels that it’s important to have another experienced player like Maicon in the team.
“I had been watching Maicon since the time he was playing for Manchester City,” Scolari said. “By bringing him, we are looking to add even more experience to the squad.”
Ramires’ return to the team came as a surprise after Scolari left the midfielder out of the Confederations Cup because of his failure to show up in time for a friendly against Russia in March, just before the World Cup warm-up tournament.
“He has been playing and we have been watching him,” Scolari said. “He will have a chance to be with us again. The national team has to come first.”
Brazilian football federation president Jose Maria Marin had told local media recently that he didn’t think Ramires should be summoned to the national team again.
Many expected Julio Cesar to be left out of the team after Scolari warned the goalkeeper that he would only summon players who were in action with their clubs. Julio Cesar has been trying to transfer from Queen Park Rangers since the club was relegated in England, but so far he hasn’t been able to reach a deal with another team.
“We talked to Julio Cesar and his situation appears to have been solved,” Scolari said. “He will probably be staying with his club and will be fighting for a starting position there. We have always had a lot of confidence in the goalkeeper.”
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers), Jefferson (Botafogo).
Defenders: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Henrique (Palmeiras), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (AS Roma), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Maxwell (Paris Saint-Germain).
Midfielders: Fernando (Shakhtar Donetsk), Hernanes (Lazio), Luiz Gustavo (Bayern Munich), Paulinho (Tottenham), Oscar (Chelsea), Ramires (Chelsea), Lucas (Paris Saint Germain).
Strikers: Hulk (Zenit), Bernard (Atletico Mineiro), Fred (Fluminense), Neymar (Barcelona), Jo (Atletico Mineiro).
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