Scolari and Brazil Must Use New Faces in 2014 World Cup Preparation

Robbie BlakeleySpecial to Bleacher ReportNovember 14, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - OCTOBER 31: Brazilian football team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari attends a press conference ahead of the international friendly match against Honduras and Chile at Sheraton Hotel on October 31, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

With FIFA dates so few and far between now and June's World Cup, each international opportunity must be grabbed by the horns in a bid to whittle down numbers before final squads must be named.

And Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has presented himself with the perfect opportunity to test new blood in the Selecao's upcoming matches against Honduras and Chile.

Felipao has made some interesting choices in each sector of his selected squad for Saturday and Tuesday's encounters. Now he needs to give them time on the field.

Whilst there is something to be said for team continuity—Scolari is now almost certain on his strongest XI—the World Cup is a month-long, seven-game tournament.

Teams play every three or four days, and after a long club season are susceptible to injury. The selecting of a 23-man squad is every bit as important as the starting XI.

For the next two games, Scolari has only selected two goalkeepers, QPR's Julio Cesar and Victor of Atletico Mineiro.

Big Phil has again reiterated his desire for Cesar to leave the substitutes' bench in West London in search of regular first-team football. A failure to do so on Cesar's part could jeopardise his place in the team.

Marquinhos can develop an understanding with Thiago Silva at club level that would benefit the national side
Marquinhos can develop an understanding with Thiago Silva at club level that would benefit the national sideEuroFootball/Getty Images

Botafogo's Jefferson looks to be the confirmed No. 2, meaning Scolari would do well to give Victor a run out in at least one of these matches to edge himself closer towards a final squad place.

Another bone of contention has been the central defensive berth. A pairing of Thiago Silva and David Luiz looks solid, with Bayern Munich stopper Dante in reserve.

For the World Cup the squad will need a fourth zagueiro, and so far Scolari has been unable to come up with an answer.

Several home-based players have been tested, including Cruzeiro's Dede and Atletico Mineiro's Rever, but the coach has gone for Paris Saint-Germain's teenage Marquinhos this time around.

The youngster was touted as the next big thing whilst at Italian club AS Roma and has only cemented his reputation amongst the stars at newly wealthy PSG.

A more mature Robinho can lead the line ahead of Neymar
A more mature Robinho can lead the line ahead of NeymarJeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Playing alongside the vastly experienced Thiago Silva for the national side would not only do wonders for the teenager's confidence, but give him the leadership he would need whilst making the big step up to the international stage.

The two can develop their understanding in club football, enhancing their performances at the international level.

Scolari is also tinkering with the attacking trio behind the centre-forward. Neymar and Oscar should be starters come World Cup kick-off.

During the Confederations Cup, Hulk filled the space wide on the right, but on several occasions he has disappointed. His work rate is unquestionable, but too often the end product is lacking and he is yet to find the back of the net under Scolari.

Brazil have a lot riding on this World Cup. Felipao plays with only four men forward. To have one deliver so inconsistently would be a huge risk when the margin for error is so fine.

For that reason 25-year-old Willian has earned a recall following a promising start to life at Chelsea. Should Ramires start in central midfield and Willian alongside Oscar further forward, that would make four Chelsea players in the Brazilian starting team with David Luiz marshaling defence.

Now is the perfect time for Brazil to experiment with the starting XI
Now is the perfect time for Brazil to experiment with the starting XIFeng Li/Getty Images

Which leaves perhaps the greatest surprise in attack. AC Milan forward Robinho, one of Brazil's forgotten men and a remnant from the Dunga era, is back in the Brazil squad after two years.

The run up to the 2010 World Cup was Robinho's greatest period in the yellow shirt. He formed an excellent partnership with Luis Fabiano in a two-man attack and scored the opener in Brazil's quarter-final World Cup defeat to Holland.

But a lack of form combined with what some deem to be a bad attitude has left the former Real Madrid forward out in the wings. Following the highs and lows of his career, it is hard to believe he is still only 29-years-old.

It is no secret Brazil are short on options up front. Now at 29, after a couple of years out of the picture, Robinho will come back a little bit more mature, ready to be the example for players like Marquinhos, Bernard and Neymar to follow.

But there's only one way to find out. And that's game time.