14 Jun 2019, 22:54 IST
Barely a few hours from now hosts Brazil will kick-off the 2019 Copa America at the Sao Paolo against Bolivia. And as the tournament will take place on home soil, the expectations from the Canaries are naturally high.
A disappointing World Cup campaign in 2014 continues to haunt the ardent Selecao faithful even to the day, so there’s a nagging feeling of unfinished business for the team.
Winning the tournament would obviously exorcise the ghosts, but would have to do so without services of the talismanic Neymar, who succumbed to an unfortunate injury in a recent friendly, cruelly ruling him out of the competition.
However, he isn’t the only high-profile name who will now be watching the competition at home. Given that Brazil are packed to the rafters with talent, not everyone could make it to Tite’s 23-man squad. Some of these omissions are even downright unexpected.
So here’s an XI of Brazilian players who won’t feature in the 2019 Copa America for the Selecao, for various reasons: (Formation: 4-1-3-2)
Goalkeeper: Neto (Valencia)
The Valencia shot-stopper had a fine season with Los Che, keeping 10 clean sheets in 34 appearances and averaging up to four saves a game, but regardless finds himself behind the pecking order.
Tite overlooked Neto for Corinthians netminder Cassio instead for the third-choice goalkeeper in the 23-man squad, but he’s only made a single appearance for the Canaries which was nearly two years ago.
Besides helping his side to a fourth-place finish in the league, Neto also had an important role to play in Valencia’s semi-final finish in the Europa League, registering three clean sheets in eight games and letting in 10 goals.
Such fierce is the competition in Brazil’s ranks though, that being even a third-choice goalkeeper may not yield an opportunity to start in the competition.
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