RIO DE JANEIRO Ė The head coach of Brazilís national soccer team called up on Thursday all of the countryís biggest stars for World Cup qualifying matches in the coming weeks against Ecuador and Colombia.
Even though Brazil has already booked a berth in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, commonly known as Tite, has summoned top players such as Paris Saint-Germain stars Neymar and Dani Alves and Real Madridís Marcelo and Casemiro.
Brazil, which has reclaimed the top spot in the FIFA World Rankings, will host Ecuador on Aug. 31 in Porto Alegre before traveling to Barranquilla to take on Colombia on Sept. 5.
Brazilís final two qualifying matches will be played in October against Bolivia and Chile.
One surprise on Titeís list was first time call-up Cassio, a goalkeeper and key member of Brazilian league-leading Corinthians, which is undefeated through 19 games of the season and has allowed just nine goals.
Other unexpected selections were attacking midfielder Luan, who plays for Brazilian club Gremio, and Taison, a key member of Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.
Brazil has a record of 10 wins, three draws and one loss (33 points) through 14 matches. Its nearest competitor in the CONMEBOL (South American) qualifying is Colombia, which is in second place with 24 points.
Four teams will qualify directly for the World Cup, while the fifth-place squad will advance to an inter-confederation playoffs against a country from the Oceania region.