A local XI will play for Brazil this week against Colombia. Here’s four names to challenge their European rivals
Brazil coach Tite has selected a 23-man squad from the local league for the friendly organized against Colombia this Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro in order to raise money for the victims of the Chapecoense airplane tragedy. Here are four players from this squad, who have the potential to keep their place with the national team.
Alex Muralha: Flamengo – Goalkeeper
The Flamengo goalkeeper had a wonderful year, producing numerous impressive saves, helping his club finish third in the league and book a Copa Libertadores spot. At 27, Muralha is neither too young nor too old to launch his international career – it is just about the perfect age for a goalkeeper.
Alisson started the majority of games in 2016, but being benched at Roma in Serie A has made many pundits in Brazil raise question marks about his right to retain his place in the World Cup qualifiers.
Pedro Geromel: Gremio – Centreback
Physically dominant in 50-50 challenges, a force in aerial duels and a decent technique on the ball, the 31-year old Gremio center back is at the peak of his career. He is arguably the best defender in the Brazilian league. Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Miranda are considered permanent picks by Tite, so Geromel will be doing his best to leave a positive impression against ‘Los Cafeteros’ on Wednesday – as the fourth centreback spot in the national team, is completely up for grabs.
Walace: Gremio – Midfielder
Geromel’s partner at Gremio, the rising defensive midfielder, Walace, played an essential part in helping Brazil claim gold for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games. Strong in duels, never shy of getting into challenges and an octopus in intercepting the ball, the 22-year old is naturally Casemiro’s heir – even though the Real Madrid man is not much older.
The similarities in their style of play are apparent, and Walace could well fight with Fernandinho for the privilege of being the big man’s first replacement in the World Cup, come next year. The Manchester City ace is not getting any younger, whereas Walace keeps improving every day. At this rate, never say never for a place in 2018.
Gustavo Scarpa: Fluminense – Midfielder
At 23, the Fluminense attacking midfielder has stepped up a level in the past few months and is ready for the upcoming challenge. He has been one of the revelations of the league last season, with his dribbles, assists and goals.
Scarpa has the skill-set of the traditional Brazilian attacker who the fans enjoy watching – while combining entertainment with efficiency in the final third. An injury prevented the midfielder from winning from a gold medal in Rio last year, but Gustavo will be looking to forget his past woes and aim for a place in the senior national team. With the talent at his disposal, he definitely has the right to dream.