SAO PAULO (AP) — Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho were left off Brazil’s World Cup roster by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who selected just five players who went to the 2010 tournament with the Selecao.
Goalkeeper Julio Cesar; defenders Thiago Silva, Dani Alves and Maicon; and midfielder Ramires were the only returnees from the tournament four years ago on the 23-man roster announced Wednesday. Fred, a forward on the 2006 World Cup roster, was selected after missing the 2010 tournament.
“I don’t think this lack of World Cup experience will play a big part,” Scolari said. “Our players have been gaining experience in their leagues in Europe, and I don’t think they will be affected by this too much, although in certain World Cup situations, having that experience would be important. But I fully trust these players.”
There were no major surprise picks in Brazil’s group, which includes 16 players who were on the roster for last year’s Confederations Cup, a warmup tournament in which the Selecao beat Spain 3-0 in the final. The team includes young stars such as Neymar and Oscar.
“My childhood dream came true,” Neymar said on Instagram. “Today was one of the most anticipated days of my life. It’s time to represent the entire country. I’m completely moved, anxious and nervous. I want it to arrive soon.”
Also among the bypassed were Lucas Leiva, Lucas Moura and Felipe Luis.
“We know that not everybody will agree with all the names. It’s normal,” Scolari said. “But now that we have the 23 players, we would like to ask that our fans support all of them, so together we can focus on our goal of winning the World Cup.”
The roster includes six players from teams in England, four from Brazil, three each from Italy and Spain, two apiece from France and Germany, and one each from Major League Soccer, Russia and Ukraine.
The announcement at a traditional concert house in Rio de Janeiro was telecast live and attended by 870 reporters, according to the governing body of Brazilian soccer.
Seeking a record sixth World Cup title, Brazil has won 13 of its last 14 games. Its starting lineup is likely to have Julio Cesar in goal; Dani Alves at right back; Thiago Silva and David Luiz in central defense; Marcelo at left back; Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo in defensive midfield; and Oscar in attacking midfield; and Neymar, Hulk and Fred up front.
Brazil plays Croatia in the World Cup opener on June 12, then faces Mexico five days later and Cameroon on June 23.
Goalkeepers: Jefferson (Botafogo), Julio Cesar (Toronto, MLS), Victor (Atletico Mineiro)