Here is Brazil’s final 23-man roster and the club each player belongs to:
Goalkeepers: Alisson (Internacional), Diego Alves (Valencia), Ederson (Sporting Lisbon)
Defenders: Dani Alves (Barcelona), Rodrigo Caio (Sao Paulo), Fabinho (Monaco), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Gil (Shandong Luneng), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Miranda (Inter Milan), Douglas Santos (Atletico Mineiro)
Midfielders: Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Kakà (Orlando City SC), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Elias (Corinthians), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Lucas Lima (Santos), Rafinha (Barcelona), Willian (Chelsea)
Attackers: Gabriel (Santos), Hulk (Zenit), Ricardo Oliveira (Santos)
The Skinny:Looking over the Brazil roster for the Copa America can leave you scratching your head. What happened to Brazil?
While the team still has quality, Brazil is not the flashy attacking power it once was. And manager Dunga’s choice to focus on the Olympics instead of the Copa America has left the side starving for attacking talent because it means that Barcelona star Neymar will play at home in Rio and not in the US.
The Olympics are the final footballing frontier for Brazil to conquest, and with Rio de Jainero playing host the former World Cup winner-turned manager Dunga has chosen to focus his team on that competition.
Outside of Neymar, Dunga has cut many other notable players from his Copa America roster, including former captain Thiago Silva, his centre-back partner David Silva, Real Madrid left back Marcelo, Chelsea midfielder Oscar, and Liverpool midfielder Roberto Firmino.
Can Dunga deliver for Brazil in his return to the place that he won the World Cup as a player?
Dunga has cut all four defenders that made up the back line in their embarrassing 7-1 exit from the World Cup at the hands of the Germans, and nine of the 11 who started the match. Unfortunately for Dunga, this has had little success in restoring Brazil’s mettle, as they have been unconvincing at best in World cup qualifiers. With a 2-3-1 record, the Brazilians are tied for sixth in the CONMEBOL standings with Paraguay, and have only managed to defeat Venezuela and Peru so far.
Help may be on the way for the Brazilian attack, however, with the arrival of highly-rated Santos striker Gabriel. The 19 year-old affectionately nicknamed “GabiGol” is hoping to cement his place as the next “Next Pele” for Brazil and fill the Neymar-sized hole in Brazil’s attack.
Luckily for the Brazilians, they should be able to walk Group B even without some of their bigger names. Even if GabiGol isn’t the world-beater they need him to be, Brazil shouldn’t face any real trouble until the knockout stages, where they could struggle mightily. However, no one needs a reminder to remember what happened at the last major competition Brazil played at without Neymar or Thiago Silva, and Dunga needs to make sure that his team is ready to play in the group stages, for the sake of the team’s mentality if nothing else.
Brazil’s matchup with Ecuador will be the most interesting match in this group in all likelihood, and it could be an important one for Brazil to find their identity and establish their mentality against strong competition. If they are going to advance past the quarterfinals, they will need to do better than they have since they collapsed at the Mineirão two years ago.
Key Performers: Dani Alves, Willian, Phillipe Coutinho
Predicted Finish in Group B: First Place