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Brazil World Cup squad snubs: Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino, Arsenal’s Gabriel among star players left out

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Brazil is considered to be the top favorite at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with one of the most star-studded and loaded squads of any nation on the planet.

The squad, which was announced by manager Tite on November 7, features top names like Neymar, Vinicius Jr, Alisson, Thiago Silva, Gabriel Jesus, and many other global superstars that are household names among even the most casual football fans.

With such a talent-laden player pool, there were always going to be big names left off the World Cup roster. It was Tite’s difficult job to pick the names of players who will go to Qatar and, consequently, those who will not make the trip.

Sure enough, there are some well-known players who will not be headed to the World Cup unless players are injured between now and the start of the tournament, which for Brazil begins on November 24.

Here is a rundown of the most prominent players who were not included on the final 26-man squad for Brazil at the FIFA World Cup.

MORE: A full breakdown of Brazil’s 26-man roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

The Liverpool forward, at the age of 31, was thought to be on the outside looking in as the 2022/23 season began in August and he was expected to be stuck behind a talented Liverpool attacking trio that included Darwin Nunez.

However, as injuries and poor form struck the Reds’ forward unit, Firmino became a reliable weapon up front, proving that his age is just a number at this point in his career.

At the the time of the Brazil squad announcement Firmino had played in 12 Premier League matches this season, including 10 starts, bagging six goals and three assists. However, he had not scored for a month (since October 9), and the Reds have produced inconsistent results.

His exclusion was surprising since Brazil do not have many true No. 9 strikers, instead boasting a winger-laden squad. But Gabriel Jesus, who now plays center forward for Arsenal after years serving mainly as a winger for Man City, appears to have been preferred over Firmino, who will be forced to watch the tournament from home. Even Flamengo center-forward Pedro was taken ahead of Firmino.

MORE: All about Brazil’s Group G opponents at the 2022 World Cup

Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal)

Arsenal center-back Gabriel may be the most confounding name among those not included in the Brazil World Cup squad.

Yes, Brazil is absolutely loaded at center-back. Finding room behind the likes of Marquinhos, Eder Militao, and Thiago Silva is a nearly impossible job. Yet Tite chose Juventus center-back Bremer over Gabriel, which many might find to be a head-scratching decision.

Gabriel has been one of the most impressive defenders in the Premier League this season, developing a stout partnership with the equally stellar William Saliba.

Meanwhile, Bremer has struggled to settle into life at Juventus, with the club conceding 17.74 expected goals in league play this year, good for just seventh in the Italian top flight, and crashing out of the Champions League after a poor group stage showing.

Philippe Coutinho (Aston Villa)

It was always going to be an uphill battle for Aston Villa playmaker Coutinho to make the Brazil roster at the 2022 World Cup.

While Brazil aren’t exactly bursting at the seams with No. 10’s, Coutinho has been in quite poor form this season at Aston Villa, losing his starting place to Emiliano Buendia.

To seal the deal, he came up with a quad injury just the day before Tite was set to announce his World Cup roster, leaving the Brazil boss with no choice but to axe the former Liverpool and Barcelona playmaker from his plans.

Emerson Royal (Tottenham)

The Spurs right-back has been inconsistent in Premier League play, struggling to defend effectively in Antonio Conte’s high-pressing system.

As a result, Emerson was left off the Brazil squad, with 39-year-old Dani Alves chosen instead. It’s an eye-popping decision from Tite, but can be justified that neither player would likely see time behind regular starter Danilo, and Alves was preferred for his experience and leadership.

MORE: Why 39-year-old Dani Alves was chosen to Brazil World Cup squad

Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid)

The 23-year-old has seen limited playing time at Atletico Madrid this season, without a single goal on the season thus far.

With so many high-flying and star-studded options for Tite to choose from along the forward line, it was always going to be tough for Matheus Cunha to break into the 26-man squad. He comes up short, with Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison, Rodrygo, and Flamengo’s Pedro preferred.

Renan Lodi (Nottingham Forest)

Brazil do not have many options at either full-back position, but there are more left-back options than on the opposite side, and thus Renan Lodi has fallen short.

Nottingham Forest sit bottom of the Premier League table, and Lodi has made just six league appearances for the club. He was understandably behind Alex Sandro and Alex Telles in the pecking order.

Gabriel Barbosa (Flamengo)

As previously mentioned, the No. 9 position is not one of general strength for Brazil, and Gabriel Barbosa’s excellent season for Flamengo put him squarely in the conversation for a spot on the World Cup roster.

Ultimately, the 26-year-old Barbosa came up just short, with his Flamengo teammate Pedro chosen instead despite having just two caps to his name at 25 years old. This may not be a choice that ultimately makes a difference, but it must have been a tough call for Tite to choose between the two, knowing it could matter if injuries hit or if Brazil should need a goal late in the game.

Gerson (Marseille)

While Brazil are short on traditional No. 10’s, Olympique Marseille midfielder Gerson didn’t end up making the cut.

The 25-year-old has just two Ligue 1 goals on the season and no assists, and has lost his place to Amine Harit. There isn’t a good justification for including Gerson above the other options either in midfield or attack.

Luiz Henrique (Real Betis)

The 21-year-old winger has had a weird season at Real Betis. He has no goal contributions in La Liga play despite owning a consistent starting role, but has done quite well in European play, scoring two and assisting two more.

It’s likely that Luiz Henrique will be an option down the road for Brazil, especially if he’s eventually picked up by a bigger club, but as of now, with so much top-tier talent in wide areas, there was no room for the youngster. Watch this space over the next few years.

Rodinei (Flamengo)

While Brazil are not as deep at full-back as they are at many other positions, right-back Rodinei was not among the chosen 26 players. The 30-year-old does not have a single Brazil cap to his name, and was only a consistent starter through the second half of the season at Flamengo.

He was a critical part of Flamengo’s successful Copa Libertadores push, which saw his name inserted into the conversation, but it just wasn’t enough.

Brazil squad for FIFA World Cup 2022

Tite named his final 26-man squad on Monday, November 7, seven days ahead of the FIFA-imposed deadline of November 14.

Here’s the final list.

Position Player Club Age Caps
Goalkeeper Alisson Liverpool (ENG) 30 56
Goalkeeper Ederson Manchester City (ENG) 29 18
Goalkeeper Weverton Palmeiras (BRA) 34 11
Defender Marquinhos PSG (FRA)  28 70
Defender Eder Militao Real Madrid (SPA) 24 23
Defender Thiago Silva Chelsea (ENG) 38 108
Defender Danilo Juventus (ITA) 24 15
Defender Alex Telles Sevilla (SPA) 29 7
Defender Dani Alves Pumas UNAM (MEX) 39 125
Defender Alex Sandro Juventus (ITA) 31 37
Defender Bremer Juventus (ITA) 25 1
Midfielder Fabinho Liverpool (ENG) 28 28
Midfielder Casemiro Manchester United (ENG) 30 64
Midfielder Bruno Guimaraes Newcastle United (ENG) 24 8
Midfielder Fred Manchester United (ENG) 29 27
Midfielder Lucas Paqueta West Ham (ENG) 25 34
Midfielder Everton Ribeiro Flamengo (BRA) 33 22
Forward Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal (ENG) 21 3
Forward Vinicius Jr. Real Madrid (SPA) 22 15
Forward Neymar PSG (FRA) 30 120
Forward Antony Manchester United (ENG) 22 10
Forward Rodrygo Real Madrid (SPA) 21 6
Forward Raphinha Barcelona (SPA) 25 10
Forward Richarlison Tottenham (ENG) 25 37
Forward Pedro Flamengo (BRA) 25 2
Forward Gabriel Jesus Arsenal (ENG) 25 56


Credit: sportingnews.com

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