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Neymar, Ronaldinho to start at Wembley


NEYMAR-BRAZILLONDON, England, February 6- Roy Hodgson and his men know the challenge they will face on Wednesday night, with Luiz Felipe Scolari confirming his starting line up.

Ronaldinho, Neymar and Luis Fabiano are all set to thrill Wembley, along with Chelsea stars David Luiz, who captains the side, Ramires and Oscar, and Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

The remainder of the side to face England includes Daniel Alves, Dante, Adriano and Paulinho.

Former Barcelona star Ronaldinho, 32, most recently appeared for his country a year ago in a 2-1 friendly loss against Bosnia.

Globoesporte said that Luiz, who had been suffering with a calf injury, was moving freely and had no apparent problems.

Hodgson has already confirmed that Steven Gerrard will captain the England side as usual, with Ashley Cole earning his 100th cap.

Brazil boss Scolari admits that it ‘hurt’ him to turn down the England job seven years ago and has not ruled out accepting it in future.

Meanwhile, Ronaldinho admits he did not expect to be recalled by Brazil, but says he believes the squad he has returned to possesses sufficient quality to win the 2014 World Cup on home soil.

After a year in the international wilderness, the 32-year-old forward will feature in Brazil’s friendly game against England at Wembley on Wednesday.

He has been handed a recall by new Brazil coach Scolari, who has returned to the role 11 years after leading the Selecao to their fifth World Cup crown in Japan and South Korea in 2002.

Ronaldinho surprisingly joined Atletico Minero in June last year and was one of the stars of the Brazilian championship as the side from Belo Horizonte finished runners-up behind Fluminense.

His performances saw him named in the team of the season, alongside Brazil team-mates Neymar, Paulinho, Lucas Moura and Fred, but he says his return to the national set-up still came as a surprise.

“It wasn’t in my plans,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“I played a very good season last year so I was hoping for it and I’m very glad that it came true.

“There’s great pedigree in our team. I think we have all possibilities to win the World Cup. We have a mix of young players and experienced players.

“I’m the most experienced, so I’ll do everything to help my team to win the World Cup.”

Brazilian fans hope to see Ronaldinho deployed in tandem with Neymar, and the former Barcelona star believes the 21-year-old Santos virtuoso is destined for the highest heights in the global game.

“He’s definitely among the best in the world,” Ronaldinho said.

“It’s a great pleasure to play at his side and I’m sure he will be the best pretty soon.

“Football is very quick. Nowadays there’s (Lionel) Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo. Neymar is still a very young player but we all have a lot of confidence that he’ll be the best in the world pretty soon.”

– AFP and DailyMail