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 Brazil: The 22 for France 98

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( June 7 is the deadline to submit the final roster. )

The list that Coach Mario Lobo Zagallo presents is made up up of:

Goalkeepers: Taffarel (Atletico Mineiro), Carlos Germano (Vasco da Gama), Dida (Cruzeiro).

Defenders: Cafú and Aldair (AS Roma), Goncalves (Botafogo), Junior Baiano and Ze Roberto (Flamengo), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid), Edilson (FC Kaiserlauthern, Germany).

Midfielders: Dunga (Jublio Iwata), Doriva (Porto), Rivaldo (Barcelona), Leonardo (AC Milan), Denilson (Sao Paulo), Flavio Conceicao (Deportivo Coruna), Cesar Sampaio (Ana Sato Kogyo), Giovanni (Barcelona).

Forwards: Edmundo (Fiorentina), Bebeto (Botafogo), Ronaldo (Inter Milan).

Who did not make it: People around the world would like to have the kind of problems Brazil has: More than 150 world class players to choose from, beautiful school of soccer with a winning tradition and 4 World champioships. Romario (Flamengo) injured his calf 2 weeks before the start of the Cup and was sent home, partly because he wouldn't come clean on the severity of the injury, partly because of his history with leg injuries. He didn't recover on time for Italy 90 and some feel that Cup was lost because of him. Defender Marcio Santos did make it, but was left off the team after an injury which wasn't going to heal before the June 15 opening game with Scotland impaired him. Vasco da Gama's veteran central defender Mauro Galvao and goalkeepers Ronaldo Giovanelli (Fluminense) and Andre (Internacional) are among those who have not been given a single chance despite outstanding performances for their clubs. Oliveira lost his chance with his performance at the US Gold Cup.

Meanwhile, Corinthians forward Marcelinho Carioca, a player who can work magic from free kicks and corners, Paris St. Germain's elegant midfielder Rai and Santos striker Muller, who has already played three World Cups, have been given one outing each in the last four years. Barcelona striker Sonny Anderson was given a handful of games but may also feel desperately unlucky to be left behind.

Surprises: Edmundo? Yes, he is in even though he refused to sit on the bench at Fiorentina and has difficulties controling his temper. The inclusion of midfielder Giovanni was a surprise because he appeared to be out of the running after being overlooked by Zagallo during the last year. But a resurgence in his form, coupled to a serious injury to rival contender Juninho, persuaded Zagallo to change his mind when he named the squad.

Juninho, who broke his leg in February and played a comeback match for Atletico Madrid on Sunday, has made a remarkably quick recovery. But Zagallo, who omitted Juninho in favor of Barcelona's Giovanni, might have had the memories of Zico in 1986 and Romario four years later at the back of his mind. Both played shortly after serious injuries and on both occasions the risk back-fired.

Zico, now assistant to Zagallo, came on as a substitute in two matches but missed a crucial penalty in a quarterfinal against France as Brazil was eliminated. Romario played one half in 1990 but caused tension in the camp by insisting on consulting his private physiotherapist.

Brazil has dozens of players capable of performing at international level but in the event Zagallo has gone for the tried and trusted -- or in some cases not so trusted -- rather than gambling on up-and-coming talent.

Zagallo and Zico: Happy now...happy in late July?

Seven of the 22 players are over 30, none are under 20 and nine were on the squad at the 1994 World Cup.

Zagallo, who was assistant to Carlos Alberto Parreira in 1994, took over immediately after the 1994 cup for his third stint as national team coach, the second having seen him lead Brazil to victory back in 1970.

Romario has touched the ball only a handful of times on his last two outings while Dunga, expected to captain the team, gave the wrong example when he was sent off in futile style against Germany in March.

Bebeto was also included at 34, despite a tumultous last 18 months in which he seems to have spent more time negotiating transfers than playing football.

Brazil began training in the mountain retreat of Teresopolis, about 60 miles from Rio, on May 12 and traveled to France 10 days later.


Comments? Additions? Predictions? 





Roberto Carlos




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