Soccer

Fred added to Brazil squad; Ronaldinho still out

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SAO PAULO (AP)

Striker Fred has been added to Brazil's squad for its last friendly before the World Cup team is announced, and coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has kept former star Ronaldinho sidelined.

Striker Jo and goalkeeper Jefferson also were called up on Monday for the game against South Africa on March 5 at Soccer City in Johannesburg.

The 33-year-old Ronaldinho's chances of making the World Cup are dwindling. Scolari is expected to announce the final World Cup team on May 7.

Brazil should play two more friendlies after the match against South Africa.

''It's another opportunity to get the players together before the final team is announced,'' Scolari said. ''It will be an important test, against a team which recently beat Spain, and a good time to talk to the players and the coaches about the planning for the (World Cup).''

Ronaldinho, who was in Scolari's team when Brazil won the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, was picked by the coach right after he returned to the helm late in 2012. But the Atletico Mineiro playmaker was left off the Confederations Cup team last year and received few chances after that.

Fred has been a regular in Scolari's team but there were doubts whether he would be called up because of recent muscle injuries. The Fluminense striker was crucial for Brazil when the five-time world champions won the Confederations Cup last year.

Scolari had already picked 16 players from international teams, but decided to wait until Monday to announce the players from Brazilian clubs because many were not in top form yet.

Also missing from the initial list were midfielder Kaka and AC Milan teammate Robinho. Manchester midfielder Fernandinho and Bayern Munich defender Rafinha were the surprise picks by Scolari at the time.

Neymar, Oscar, Ramires, Willian, David Luiz, Thiago Silva and Hulk made the list of foreign-based players, as expected.

Scolari said last week that everything was going Brazil's way heading into the World Cup and there was no reason not to think the hosts can be successful.

''We have everything that allows us to be the best team,'' he said. ''That's why I fully trust that we can make it to the final and be the champion.''

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Brazil:

Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Toronto), Jefferson (Botafogo).

Defenders: David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Rafinha (Bayern Munich).

Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Paulinho (Tottenham), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Ramires (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea).

Strikers: Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg), Bernard (Shaktar Donetsk), Willian (Chelsea), Neymar (Barcelona), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Fred (Fluminense).

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