Saturday, March 26, 2016 5:43 pm
Santos striker Gabriel and Corinthians defender Felipe were called up to the Brazil squad on Saturday to replace David Luiz and Neymar, both of whom will serve out suspensions in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Paraguay.
“Dunga has called up central defender Felipe (Corinthians) and striker Gabriel (Santos) for the World Cup qualifying match against Paraguay in Asuncion on March 29,” the Brazilian Football Confederation said in a statement.
Gabriel, a 19-year-old wide player who took part in the Olympic team’s 1-0 defeat by Nigeria on Thursday, replaces Barcelona striker Neymar, who was cautioned for stamping in Friday night’s thrilling 2-2 draw in Recife.
Corinthians centre half Felipe will replace Paris St. Germain’s Luiz, who came in for heavy criticism after Brazil lost a 2-0 advantage to the visitors.
Brazil got the perfect start with a goal from Douglas Costa in 39 seconds and then doubled their lead through Renato Augusto 24 minutes later. However, Edinson Cavani scored after half an hour and Luis Suarez equalised three minutes into the second half.
The visitors had chances to win the game as Brazil struggled to contain the physicality of the visitors.
Dunga complained that his players needed to be more “virile” and the famously combative coach will want to see more backbone against the always sturdy Paraguayans.
Both uncapped players will join the Brazil side on Saturday before the squad head to Asuncion the day before the game.
Paraguay sit in fourth place in the 10-team table, having stopped Ecuador’s perfect start to the qualifiers by grabbing a deserved 2-2 draw in Quito on Thursday.
The top four will qualify for Russia 2018 and the fifth-placed side will go into an intercontinental play-off. (Editing by Clare Fallon)