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Willian confirmed in 2018 World Cup favorite Brazil squad

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Can they put to rest the ghosts of 2014?

Brazil Training Session - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

True to his word, Brazil national team head coach Tite has included Willian in his final World Cup squad for this summer’s tournament in Russia.

The Brazil squad is so settled these days that the head coach had already announced 15 of the final 23 players way back in February. And sure enough all but one of the 15 were on the final list yesterday as well. The one missing was Dani Alves, who picked up a serious knee injury last week — “when I felt the pain in my knee, my soul went out of my body” — and will miss many months; though the 35-year-old is not contemplating retirement.

While many associations called-up expanded squads of 30-35 players, Tite has gone ahead and picked his chosen 23 in another confident sign of strength for the World Cup favorites.

Four years on from the Mineiraço, can Brazil live up to expectations? If the last four years are any indication, Willian will be a key part in determining that.

The squad in full, as announced yesterday; in bold the 14 players who were already named in February. Congrats to former Blue Filipe Luís, who recovered in time from a fibula fracture (!) suffered in mid-March!

GOALKEEPERS: Alisson (Roma), Ederson (Manchester City), Cássio (Corinthians).

DEFENDERS: Danilo (Manchester City), Fagner (Corinthians), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Filipe Luís (Atlético Madrid), Thiago Silva (PSG), Marquinhos (PSG), Miranda (Inter Milan), Pedro Geromel (Grêmio).

MIDFIELDERS: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Barcelona), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Willian (Chelsea)

FORWARDS: Neymar (PSG), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Douglas Costa (Juventus)