Brazil play Bosnia on Tuesday night (7pm UK, 4pm Brazil) in a friendly match in the picturesque Swiss town of St. Gallen.
Mano Menezes will be hoping to see his team carry on where they left off last year as the results and performances slowly started to improve. Despite the improvement, Brazil have dropped to 7th place in the Fifa world rankings. The only consolation is that Argentina are 11th.
After struggling against heavyweights of world football since 2010, the CBF decided that Brazil should play matches against weaker opposition. And rightly so in my opinion: losing and getting hammered in the press back home was doing nothing for the young players’ confidence or development. The last three results have been quite good and performances have improved slightly.
Mano has a few injury concerns ahead of the game. Right back Danilo is definitely out after he suffered a serious knee injury against Manchester City in the Europa League last week. Santos keeper Rafael could also miss out due to injury although with Julio César in the squad he was unlikely to play anyway. Lucas Moura and Dedé both played matches for their clubs on Sunday and only arrived in Switzerland on Monday. Check the full squad below.
One name that is causing much debate is Ronaldinho. His form for Flamengo hasn’t been great so far this year and he is widely credited for getting Vanderlei Luxemburgo sacked at Flamengo. After singing his praises last year, the media have turned against him. Last year they were calling Mano Menezes an idiot for not calling him up; this year they are calling him an idiot for calling him up. Just can’t please some people. This is what the Brazilian pundits said:
Neto, Band: “Calling up Ronaldinho is crazy! It’s a joke. He isn’t doing anything at Flamengo. Then Mano calls him up for the national team? Crazy! Mano won’t make it until 2014. He isn’t good enough for that. He was good at Corinthians but not the National team. For me, Muricy must be the coach in 2014.”
Lédio Carmona, Arena SporTV: “Calling up Ronaldinho is rewarding lack of interest. Today, he chooses one game to play well every now and then, make a few good passes, one or two dribbles. But it’s very little. He’s not the same reference for the team that he once was. It doesn’t make sense. Between Ronaldinho and Kaká, I would choose Kaká”.
Marco Antônio Rodrigues, Arena SporTV: “Choosing Ronaldinho as a leader is very worrying if that was Mano’s intention. I haven’t seen him play well for a while. All I see him do is get coaches fired”
Ricardo Rocha, Arena SporTV: “The current team doesn’t have a leader. There is nobody else. Ronaldinho, especially thanks to his history in the team, could be this player and I’m sure that Mano is counting on that”.
I think the criticism is insane. Thank you Marco Antônio Rodrigues for bring a bit of sanity to the discussion. People need to start having more patience and see the big picture. Ronaldinho was one of Brazil’s best players last year. Drop him because of the Guanabara Cup and Vanderlei Luxemburgo? The guy hasn’t been paid for four months for God’s sake – how do you expect him to behave? Besides, he played well in Flamengo’s Libertadores qualifier against Real Potosí. The man has the ability to deliver when it counts. Flamengo’s business is not Mano Menezes business.
What do you think? Does Ronaldinho deserve his call? Is Neto a tool?
Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Diego Alves (Valencia), Rafael (Santos)
Adriano (Barcelona), Alex Sandro (Porto), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Danilo (Porto), Thiago Silva (Milan), David Luiz (Chelsea), Dedé (Vasco), Luisão (Benfica)
Elias (Sporting), Fernandinho (Shaktar Donetsk), Hernanes (Lazio), Sandro (Tottenham), Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos), Lucas (São Paulo)
Ronaldinho (Flamengo), Neymar (Santos), Leandro Damião (Internacional), Jonas (Valencia), Hulk (Porto)