Brazil travel to Paris to face France on Thursday with a couple of key defenders out of action for them through injury. PSG duo David Luiz and Marquinhos will miss out for the Selecao while for France, head coach Didier Deschamps hasn’t included Barcelona centreback Jeremy Mathieu who scored the opening goal in the El Clasico over the weekend.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the game, the coach said, “I made some choices. If you speak about the last games, some players have played or not. Some have been good or scored. It’s the same thing at each selection. Usually, you always speak about the ones I did not choose that have been playing well. That’s logical. I’ve made some choices. I assume everything.”
“It is not a condemnation against Jeremy Mathieu. He has some experience. During a period of time he was playing much less. He had to play and played quite well. He’s a center back that we are following regularly.”
On the upside, striker Karim Benzema is enjoying a stellar season at Real Madrid and was their best player against Barcelona, running the channels, working hard and providing a glorious first time backheel assist for Cristiano Ronaldo. He has scored 19 goals in all competitions this season, and Deschamps was full of praise for the striker.
“He’s been playing very well with us too. It is not the same players or even the same system at his club,” he said of Benzema. “The most important is for him to keep that level. The one he has been for several months, maybe several seasons.”
“The difference is that we expect much more from him with the French national team. The media especially. They want him playing as a goal scorer, a finisher. In Madrid he scores goals, but he has Cristiano Ronaldo on his side. Ronaldo is there certainly in order to score goals. He doesn’t have to change his football, we do not expect it.”
Brazil meanwhile have won all their last six matches since Dunga took charge of them after the World Cup though they will be without Luiz, Marquinhos and Diego Tardelli.
Luiz suffered a thigh injury against Bordeaux last weekend and Arsenal’s Gabriel Paulista has been called up for the first time to the national squad. The other two replacements are Shakhtar Donetsk’s in form striker Luiz Adriano and Corinthians defender Gil.
Goalkeepers: Steve Mandanda (Marseille), St phane Ruffier (Saint-Etienne), Benoit Costil (Rennes)
Defenders: Patrice Evra (Juventus/ITA), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal/ENG), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City/ENG), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool/ENG), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid/ESP), Beno t Tremoulinas (Sevilla/ESP), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea/ENG)
Midfielders: Maxime Gonalons (Lyon), Geoffrey Kondogbia (Monaco), Blaise Matuidi (Paris SG), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Dimitri Payet (Marseille)
Strikers: Mathieu Valbuena (Dynamo Moscow/RUS), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/ESP), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)
Goalkeepers: Jefferson (Botafogo), Marcelo Grohe (Gremio), Diego Alves (Valencia)
Defenders: Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal), Gil (Corinthians), Thiago Silva (Paris St Germain), Miranda (Atletico Madrid), Filipe Luis (Chelsea), Danilo (Porto), Fabinho (Monaco), Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Elias (Corinthians), Souza (SA?A?o Paulo), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Philipe Coutinho (Liverpool), Willian (Chelsea), Firmino (Hoffenheim), Oscar (Chelsea), Douglas Costa (Shakhtar)
Forwards: Neymar (Barcelona), Luiz Adriano (Shakhtar), Robinho (Santos)