Thu, 22 Oct 2020

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Uncapped Palmeiras teenager Gabriel Menino was Friday named in Brazil's squad for their opening 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Peru.

Menino was was one of five Brazil-based players included in a 23-man squad for the matches in Sao Paulo on October 9 and Lima four days later.

As expected, head coach Tite also called up Paris Saint-Germain pair Neymar and Marquinhos, Chelsea veteran Thiago Silva, Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro and Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho.

Teenage forward Rodrygo was also named, though there was no place for his Real Madrid teammate Vinicius Junior.

Also absent were midfielder Arthur Melo, who joined Juventus from Barcelona in July, Flamengo striker Gabriel Barbosa and Real Madrid left-back Marcelo. Sao Paulo's defender-turned-midfielder Dani Alves is unavailable because of a fractured forearm.

But the biggest surprise was the inclusion of 19-year-old Menino, who can play at right-back or in midfield. The Brazil under-20 player was only promoted to the Palmeiras first-team squad in January and has made just nine league appearances for the club.

"We've taken note of all of his personal and technical characteristics as well as watching him play," Tite told a virtual news conference. "He is a new emerging talent in an important position," he added.

The South American zone World Cup qualifiers were originally scheduled to begin in late March but were suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The top four teams at the end of the qualifying tournament - in which teams play each other twice on a home-and-away basis - will automatically earn a World Cup berth. The fifth-ranked side will advance to a two-legged intercontinental playoff.

The next edition of football's showpiece tournament will run from November 21 to December 18, 2022.

More Barcelona News

Access More

Sign up for Barcelona News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!