Top Brazilian players rested for qualifier

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said Thursday he will rest the team's top stars in next weekend's World Cup qualifier against Bolivia.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:51 IST
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Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said Thursday he will rest the team's top stars in next weekend's World Cup qualifier against Bolivia. Dida, Cafu, Juan, Roberto Carlos, Emerson, Kaka, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo won't even make the trip to La Paz for Sunday's match. They will stay in Brazil for the team's encounter against Venezuela in the northern city of Belem on Wednesday, in the team's last qualifier. "We want to make new observations in this match against Bolivia," Parreira said. "So when it's time to choose the 23 players for the Cup, we can choose what is best for the national team." Twenty six picked Parreira picked 26 players in his squad for this round of qualifiers, four more than usual. Brazil is already guaranteed a berth at next year's tournament regardless of the results at the high altitude of Bolivia and at home to Venezuela. The five-time World Cup winner, which lost on its last two visits to La Paz, is second in South America's qualifying group with 30 points, one fewer than Argentina and four more than third-place Ecuador. Parreira said the top stars will likely return to action against Venezuela - but not all of them. Pressure dismissed The coach has dismissed pressure from fans and media to field Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Kaka, Adriano and Robinho at the same time, saying it would undermine the team's defense. "The concept of the quintet is completely out of the question,'' Parreira said Wednesday. "We already have an idea of what we will do, but we reserve the right not to announce it until Friday." Brazil routed Chile 5-0 in its last qualifier, with Kaka, Ronaldo, Adriano and Robinho in the lineup. Adriano netted a hat trick and Robinho scored one, while Kaka and Ronaldo had assists. Ronaldinho, FIFA Player of the Year, was suspended. Robinho may be left out All five will be available against Venezuela, and Robinho, the youngest at age 21, is most likely to be left out. The Real Madrid striker is the only one not a regular starter at his club, while Ronaldo and Ronaldinho already have World Cup experience, and Adriano is the team's highest scorer since Parreira's return to the national team in 2003. "I personally think that I will be benched," Robinho told the UOL Web site. "But I'll keep trying to give my best during practice to fight for a spot." Brazil is the only nation to have played in every edition since the competition's inception in 1930. (AP)

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