After Brazil were dumped out of Copa América in the quarterfinals back in late June, there was lots of promise of renovation and the search for new blood. Although many in the Brazilian press were a bit skeptical of this, there have been inklings of this happening in his latest callup, although it’s the “oldies but goodies” that keep appearing the source of criticism that Dunga, Gilmar Rinaldi and their vaunted “committee of change” will continue to get.
While there is criticism back home, one thing that cannot be disputed is that Kaka’s maiden voyage in Major League Soccer has proven to be one that is bearing fruit. Upon his arrival to team practice on Thursday, the former World Cup winner received a text message that he was back on with the Canarinha as a full callup. This is why his name was the most noticeable one on Dunga’s latest callup list as the Pentacampeão get ready to come to the United States to play a Costa Rica side in duress at Red Bull Arena on September 5 (after the resignation of Paulo César Wanchope) and the US national team at Gillette Stadium three days later. The list consists of 24 players as it is uncertain if Neymar will play due to having mumps.
The Orlando City star was on Dunga’s provisional list for this past Copa América but was never called up to replace any players. Yet throughout the past year Luiz Felipe Scolari as well as Dunga have made note of Kaká’s ability to come back from a phase of his career where he was plagued by injury to become one of the top playmakers in Brazilian football and now in MLS.
According to Dunga, Kaká would have a similar role that Robinho had during Copa América and with the uncertainty of Neymar due to having mumps, it will be the former São Paulo man that will be looked at to control the ball and distribute throughout the pitch. ” (Kaká) will give maturity in the most difficult moments. He will have to do a very important job inside and outside the pitch,” said Dunga when asked about his addition on the squad.
This form has made the former AC Milan and Real Madrid man to be looked at as one of the big names that has helped progress Major League Soccer into a new phase of popularity and also competitiveness within the CONCACAF region.
Just as an aside, Robinho was not called up to the national team despite having been an integral part of Guangzhou Evergrande’s form that has kept them top of the table in the Chinese League.
Although Robinho was not called up, his former Santos teammate Lucas Lima was. The same can be said of Arsenal’s Gabriel Paulista who seems like a very questionable callup knowing his limited role with the Gunners since arriving from Villarreal at the beginning of 2015. Douglas Santos was another player from the domestic league that will be observed after the form that has allowed Atlético-MG to be top of the table in the Brasileirão and poised to win their first league title in 44 years.
World Cup verterans Hulk and Ramires return to the national team fray, while Oscar comes back too the team after missing out on Copa América due to injury.
This set of matches would be the final phase of preparations for Brazil as they begin their World Cup qualifying in October when they head to Chile to face the reigning continental champs and then host Venezuela at a site still to be determined, most likely Rio. The major caveat there is that they will have to face those two sides without Neymar who still has two matches to serve in his suspension. They already did that against Venezuela during Copa América and defeated them 2-1 in group play.
GOALKEEPERS: Jefferson (Botafogo), Marcelo Grohe (Grêmio), Alisson (Internacional)
DEFENDERS: David Luiz (PSG), Marquinhos (PSG) , Miranda (Inter de Milão), Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Filipe Luís (Atlético de Madrid), Danilo (Real Madrid), Douglas Santos (Atlético Mineiro)
MIDFIELDERS: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Elias (Corinthians), Ramires (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea), Firmino (Liverpool), Willian (Chelsea), Kaká (Orlando City), Lucas Lima (Santos).
FORWARDS: Neymar (Barcelona), Lucas (PSG), Hulk (Zenit), Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich)