Injury has cost Coutinho & Firmino Brazil places – Dunga

The Selecao coach says the Liverpool duo’s replacements, Kaka and Ricardo Oliveira, have earned their roles in the squad to face Argentina after impressing recently


Brazil coach Dunga says the omissions of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino from his squad illustrates the competition for places in his selection.

The Liverpool duo were left out of the group that will face Argentina and Peru in World Cup qualification next month.

Both were forced to withdraw from the squad that faced Chile and Venezuela in October, and Dunga says that their replacements, Kaka and Ricardo Oliveira, have earned recalls.

“You cannot leave an empty seat. If the guy comes in, sits down and plays well, he will remain in the squad,” Dunga told a press conference on Thursday.

“The players have to seize their opportunities.”

Coutinho withdrew from the squad last month after Liverpool’s clash with Everton, though the CBF did not confirm the details of his injury, which was later confirmed as a groin problem.

Firmino suffered a back injury and only returned to training this week.

And Dunga added that a miscommunication regarding their respective injuries may also have played a role in his decision to drop the Premier League stars.

“We are frequently in contact with all our players,” he said.

“Therefore, they have to pass all the relevant information on to us. We want direct contact so as not to make any mistakes.

“We have to have the information at the right time in order to make our decisions. When that is delayed by one or two days, it may be something that does not please everyone.”

Roberto Firmino misses out on a place in the Brazil squad for the first time since making his debut against Turkey in November last year.

Coutinho, meanwhile, was originally axed from September’s Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour double-header against Costa Rica and USA after Dunga said the former Inter Milan man failed to impress at the Copa America.

He earned a recall on that occasion only after Barcelona’s Rafinha suffered a serious knee injury.

Coutinho has appeared 11 times for Brazil since Dunga’s July 2014 appointment, making five starts, and has completed the 90 minutes on just one occasion.

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