Scolari leaves door open for two strikers, keeper

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 12: Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari says two strikers and a goalkeeper will be added to his squad for next month’s friendly against South Africa.

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho and Bayern Munich defender Rafinha were surprise inclusions in Scolari’s 16-man squad for the March 5 clash in Johannesburg, reported Xinhua.

As expected, Neymar, Oscar, Ramires, David Luiz and Thiago Silva were named but AC Milan duo Robinho and Kaka were overlooked.

Speaking during a press conference to announce the squad in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday, Scolari said three more places will be filled by Brazil-based players.

Among those vying for a berth are Fluminense striker Fred, who is recovering from a serious thigh injury, Atletico Mineiro’s former Manchester City forward Jo and goalkeepers Diego Cavalieri (Fluminense) and Victor (Atletico Mineiro).

“The final list will have 19 or 20 names and there could be a new name,” Scolari said.

The 65-year-old added that he was prepared to give Fred as long as he needs to prove his fitness for the World Cup.

“If I have to wait, I will wait,” Scolari said. “If the player has my total trust, that’s what I’ll do. I need players who I can depend upon. Some of them are players that make a difference both on and off the pitch.”

The Selecao will open their World Cup campaign against Croatia in Sao Paulo June 12.

Brazil squad:

Goalkeepers: Cesar (QPR)

Defenders: David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Paris St-Germain), Alves (Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Rafinha (Bayern Munich).

Midfielders: Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Paulinho (Tottenham), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Ramires (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea).

Strikers: Hulk (Zenit), Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Willian (Chelsea), Neymar (Barcelona).

IANS