Football: Kaka and Coutinho out as Brazil announce provisional World Cup squad

RIO DE JANEIRO - Napoli defender Henrique was the only surprise inclusion when Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari named his provisional, 23-man squad for the World Cup.

The hosts' squad, who will be aiming to win the title for a record sixth time, feature Barcelona striker Neymar and will be captained by Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva.

Henrique, who has played just 71 minutes at international level but worked under Scolari at Palmeiras, was preferred to Atletico Madrid's in-form defender Miranda and PSG's youngster Marquinhos as the fourth central defender.

Notable names left out of the squad are Liverpool midfielders Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Leiva, AC Milan playmaker Kaka and Manchester United full-back Rafael.

Scolari, who guided Brazil to their fifth World Cup in Japan in 2002, took Brazil to the Confederations Cup crown last year - beating Italy, Uruguay and Spain on their way to the title.

The team have won 13 of their last 14 matches and are favourites to win the first World Cup to be played in Brazil since 1950.

The players will meet on May 26 in Rio de Janeiro and play two friendlies against Panama and Serbia before opening their campaign against Croatia in Sao Paulo on June 12. Mexico and Cameroon complete Group A.

Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC/CAN), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Atletico Mineiro)

Defenders: Dante (Bayern Munich/GER), David Luiz (Chelsea/ENG), Henrique (Napoli/ITA), Thiago Silva (PSG), Daniel Alves (Barcelona/ESP), Maicon (Roma/ITA), Marcelo (Real Madrid/ESP), Maxwell (Paris St Germain/FRA)

Midfielders: Fernandinho (Manchester City/ENG), Hernanes (Inter Milan/ITA), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg/GER), Oscar (Chelsea/ENG), Paulinho (Tottenham/ENG), Ramires (Chelsea/ENG), Willian (Chelsea/ENG)

Strikers: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Fred (Fluminense), Hulk (Zenit Saint-Petersburg/RUS), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Neymar (Barcelona/ESP)

REUTERS