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Sambafoot Sunday: A Case For Luisão, Brazil’s Bald Eagle.

There might be a gap in the Brazil squad for a fourth centre back, could Luisão be the man to fill it?

Sambafoot Sunday by James Nalton. The beat goes on...

Luisão’s performance for Benfica in their midweek Europa League tie has led to predictable, but not undeserved calls for him to be included in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s World Cup squad.

Sambafoot’s Stuart Maclennan reported the story after the centre back scored two goals in his side’s 3-1 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur, with suggestions that he could be the fourth choice defender for Brazil this summer.

It may come as a surprise to hear that Luisão has been to the last two World Cups with his country, but he failed to make an appearance at both Germany in 2006, and South Africa 2010. His two international tournaments of note were Brazil’s 2004 Copa América win, where he netted in the final against Argentina, and their 2009 Confederations Cup triumph.

So Luisão does have the international experience, despite not playing a single game at the two World Cups he’s been involved in, and the 33-year-old does have a history of winning with his country in the tournaments he’s actually played in.

A captain at club level, he would add extra experience to a Brazil side which will be relying on several of their younger players to do the business further up the pitch, and would slot into a back line which already includes some of Brazil’s older heads.

His goals against Spurs give him a personal haul of five for the season in all competitions, and his threat from set pieces could add a different dimension to a Brazil side which may be lacking in this area.

The three central defenders called up by Scolari for the recent friendly against South Africa look to have secured their places in the squad, but come the summer a fourth will be required. Beyond Thiago Silva, David Luiz, and Dante, there are a whole host of players who will have an eye on this final place.

Youngsters Marquinhos of PSG, and Botafogo’s highly regarded left sided centre back Dória have both been called up in the past year, with the PSG man’s impressive performances in the Champions League putting him in pole position. Elsewhere, players such as Atlético Mineiro’s Réver, who was an unused squad player in the 2013 Confederations Cup triumph, and the likes of Dedé of Cruzeiro and Henrique of Napoli look to have missed the boat, save for a late injury crisis.

For a competition with such a large Brazilian representation, the Portuguese league is criminally overlooked when it comes to Brazilian squad selection. The impressive Porto quartet of Danilo, Alex Sandro, Fernando Reges, and centre back Maicon, are seemingly nowhere near the squad, and Luisão’s Benfica team-mates Guilherme Siqueira and joint top scorer Lima might also have hoped to at least be given a chance to impress in friendlies.

Despite this apparent ignorance of the league he plays in, Luisão will hope that Benfica progress in the Europa League and this continental exposure will put him on Scolari’s radar, if he isn’t on it already. He’ll aim to make himself the safe selection for the World Cup squad, as opposed to the younger and less experienced Marquinhos who could be seen as more of a risk.


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