SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's squad for the World Cup finals is likely to comprise the following 23 players:
Julio Cesar (Toronto FC) Age 34; 78 caps. The first name on Luis Filipe Scolari's World Cup list when the coach guaranteed him a place in the squad a year before the finals. However, sitting on the sidelines at English Championship (second division) side Queens Park Rangers threatened that privileged position and he moved to North America to join MLS side Toronto FC in February to see action. He is married to Ronaldo's ex-girlfriend, Susana Werner, a former soap opera star.
Jefferson (Botafogo) Age 31; 9 caps. One of several players who got their first call-up after Mano Menezes dismantled Dunga's 2010 side, Jefferson is the established back-up to first choice Julio Cesar. The experienced stopper has conceded just four goals when representing the national team.
Diego Cavalieri (Fluminense) Age 31; 3 caps. Third choice for Brazil, he spent a year at Liverpool but got few chances to unseat Pepe Reina and has no cause to regret signing for Fluminense in December 2010. Won the league with the Rio club in 2012 when he was voted the best keeper in the competition. Cavalieri follows the long tradition of Fluminense goalkeepers who wear all black when playing for Brazil.
Defenders: Marcelo (Real Madrid) Age 25 (May 12 1988); 30 caps. Marcelo narrowly missed out on going to the 2010 World Cup but will be a first-choice this time. His commitment under previous Brazil coach Mano Menezes was questioned and his temperament has also been scrutinised thanks to red cards received in a yellow shirt. But he appears to have matured over the last 18 months and is popular with Scolari. He was among four outfield players to feature in every minute of Brazil's five-game run to the Confederations Cup title last year. Daniel Alves (Barcelona) Age 30; 73 caps. First choice for Brazil under the last three managers, he is one of the most experienced squad members. Of the non-Spaniards to have represented Barcelona, only Lionel Messi has played for the Catalan club more times.
Maicon (AS Roma) Age 32; 66 caps. Few teams have as many quality fullbacks as Brazil and Maicon is the perfect example of their strength in depth. A regular under Dunga, he played every game at the finals in South Africa but this time his role will be as back-up to the swashbuckling Dani Alves.
Maxwell (Paris St Germain) Age 32; 7 caps. Has lifted league titles in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France but won his first Brazil cap only in August. Has since established himself in Scolari's squad and appears set to edge out other high- profile candidates including Atletico Madrid's Filipe Luis. Zlatan Ibrahimovic slept on Maxwell's floor when they were at Ajax Amsterdam together and they remain close friends at PSG.
Thiago Silva (Paris St Germain) Age 29; 45 caps. Probably the most improved Brazil player from the squad that went to South Africa. His commanding performances for AC Milan won him a big-money transfer to PSG in 2012 and his form is such that Paolo Maldini declared him the best in the world. Will wear the captain's armband for the hosts.
David Luiz (Chelsea) Age 27; 34 caps. The joker in the squad and one of those responsible for keeping morale high. He brings high spirits and experience at the top level and is also highly versatile. Likely to start in the middle of defence but can also play at fullback or in midfield. One of four Chelsea players in the squad, the most from any team.
Dante (Bayern Munich) Age 30; 11 caps. After years of struggling at mid-level continental clubs, he finally came of age in 2013 for club and country and will hope to continue that momentum through the tournament. Made his debut in February 2013 against England and four months later scored his first Brazil goal in his home city, and lifted the Confederations Cup barely a month after winning the Champions League with Bayern.
Marquinhos (Paris St Germain) Age 19; 1 cap. Only 19 but has played for three top clubs. Started at Corinthians, moved to AS Roma and was then a big-money buy for PSG last year. Has only one cap, making his debut against Honduras last November, but could be a back-up pick for a central defensive role.
Midfielders: Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur) Age 25: 25 caps. Has made a huge impact over the last two years for club and country. His box-to-box presence helped Corinthians lift the Copa Libertadores and the Club World Cup for the first time and earned him a transfer to Spurs where he has impressed at times but is not fully settled. He is one of the first names on Scolari's team sheet. Won the bronze ball as the third best player at the Confederations Cup.
Ramires (Chelsea) Age 26; 41 caps. One of the most disciplined players in the squad, the holding midfielder is valued for knowing when to burst forward and when to stay deep. After falling out of favour and missing the Confederations Cup, the Chelsea regular has forced his way back into Scolari's good books.
Hernanes (Inter Milan) Age 28; 23 caps. Hernanes will not be a first choice under Scolari, but the number of times he has been brought on in the second half to help keep a hold on games suggests he is a valuable asset.
Luiz Gustavo (VfL Wolfsburg) Age 26; 16 caps. Better known outside his home country having never played for a leading Brazilian side. The tough-tackling midfielder went to Germany just after his 20th birthday and has spent his career there. His displays for Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich won him the attention of Mano Menezes, who handed him his debut in 2011, and he has remained a favourite under Scolari.
Fernandinho (Manchester City) Age 28; 6 caps. A classic late bloomer, his undoubted talent may have been rewarded sooner had he not spent most of his career in the former Soviet bloc. The rangy midfielder had eight years at Shakhtar Donetsk before signing for Manchester City last year. His impact in the Premier League won him a recall against South Africa with his long-range goal - and Felipao's smiling reaction - suggesting he had done enough to secure a place in the squad.
Willian (Chelsea) Age 25; 5 caps. Was a promising teenager when he went to Shakhtar Donetsk and disappeared off the radar as far as Brazil was concerned, but has belatedly staked a claim for a place in the squad. Ended a six-year stint in the east by signing for Chelsea last summer and his fine club performances have brought him back into contention.
Oscar (Chelsea) Age 22; 29 caps. Still only 23 but clearly relishes the big stage. Netted a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Portugal in the 2011 Under-20 World Cup final and scored twice on his competitive debut for Chelsea in a Champions League game against Juventus. His ability to feed and link up with forwards Fred, Hulk and Neymar will be vital.
Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk) Age 21; 10 caps. Helped Atletico Mineiro to their first Copa Libertadores trophy and has since joined Shakhtar. Likely to play an important role as a substitute who can bamboozle opponents with pace and trickery. He is a favourite of manager Scolari who said: "He has joy in his legs."
Neymar (Barcelona) Age 22; 47 caps. Still young but the team's undeniable box-office attraction. Has struggled to find his feet at Barcelona but will be a better player for coming up against the best defenders in the world. His 30 goals in 47 internationals is testament to his talent and if Neymar plays well, Brazil will be hard to beat.
Fred (Fluminense) Age 30; 32 caps. Often criticised as static and injury-prone, Fred is still a firm favourite with Scolari and a definite starter at centre-forward if fit. Played in the 2006 World Cup and has international experience with the Olympique Lyonnais side of the last decade. Hit the headlines last year when a video of him chatting up and kissing a girl on a motorcycle at a traffic light went viral.
Jo (Atletico Mineiro) Age 27; 15 caps. Those who watched Jo struggle at Everton and Manchester City might find it hard to believe the gangly striker is going to the World Cup. But feeding off Ronaldinho and Bernard, he excelled at Mineiro last year and his good form has continued into 2014. Scolari lacks options for a target man and Jo fits the bill as a No. 9.
Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg) Age 27; 33 caps. Got his name because of his powerful physique but there is more to his game than brute strength. Took time to win over the Brazil fans who knew little about him because most of his career was spent outside his homeland, but Scolari quickly saw the value of his phenomenal work rate. A likely starter up front, playing wide alongside Neymar and Fred.
(Compiled by Andrew Downie; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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