RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Uncapped Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose and Besiktas midfielder Anderson Talisca were the surprise inclusions in Brazil’s squad to face Russia and Germany in friendlies later this month, as head coach Tite announced his squad on Monday.
Both men were given the chance to impress in what was a larger than usual 25-man squad, Tite’s last before naming the 23 who will go to the World Cup in Russia.
“Willian Jose and Talisca bring different components,” Tite told reporters. “Willian Jose has had two great seasons at Real Sociedad, really developing as a player.
“Talisca can finish from mid-distance, from balls in the air, he has a physical presence that can be an advantage against defences set up in lines of four or five.”
The inclusion of Valencia goalkeeper Neto and 32-year-old Gremio captain Pedro Geromel were also unexpected.
Neto got his first call up in 2010 but has never played for the national side.
Geromel’s only appearance for Brazil was in a friendly against Colombia in 2017 to raise money for the victims of the Chapecoense airline disaster.
Brazil play Russia in Moscow on March 23 and then face World Cup winners Germany in Berlin four days later.
The five-times world champions kick off their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17 before facing Costa Rica and Serbia.
They have lost just once in the 17 matches since Tite took over, 1-0 to Argentina in a 2017 friendly in Australia, but the match against Germany in particular will be a big test and the first time they have faced the Europeans since they went down 7-1 in the World Cup semi-final four years ago.
Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier, writing by Andrew Downie; Editing by Christian Radnedge