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Firmino Called up for Brazil Friendlies, Coutinho Snubbed

Ahead of Brazil's upcoming friendly matches against Costa Rica and USA, Brazil coach Dunga has included Roberto Firmino, but left Philippe Coutinho out of the squad

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Almost 20 years ago, in the age of German championship wins, Tom Cruise impossible missions, and, like, just so many good rap albums, a brilliant Brazilian attacking midfielder was snubbed from the international squad because he played in the Premier League, a division the Brazilian coach at the time reportedly didn't follow. The player was Juninho Paulista, and a year later, he moved to Spain in an effort to catch the coaches eye.

Now, we have this:

"We gave Coutinho a chance at the Copa America

"You cannot just build a team with youngsters, you also need experience to help them."

That is Brazil coach Carlos Dunga, talking about his decision to omit Philippe Coutinho from the Brazilian national team for their upcoming friendlies against Costa Rica and USA, instead choosing to include noted Coutinho fan, retirement league superstar and all around wholesome dude Kaká. Kaká, experienced though he is, has played 22 minutes of international football in the last two and a half years, and hasn't played against top level competition in well over a year, making his inclusion an odd one.

Dunga got some good performances out of fading star Robinho (who has also been cut this time around) during the Copa America this summer, but the team were knocked out of the competition by Paraguay at the quarter final stage, and never really looked capable of going all the way. While suggestions Dunga doesn't follow Brazilians in English football are made in jest, swapping the exceptional Coutinho, coming off a scorching game-winner on the weekend, for the aging Kaká seems a backwards decision, particularly for a side that looked stagnant and bereft of creativity rather than experience at the Copa.

On the bright side, at least Coutinho won't get injured while away with Brazil, Firmino will be playing a part, improving his match fitness, and it seems unlikely that history will repeat itself by way of a Brazilian playmaker forcing a move to Spain in order to play for his national team. After all, Germany don't win any championships, right? And Tom Cruise doesn't do MI movies anymore. And rap music is just terrible now. So. Potential crisis averted!

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