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Brazil squad announced for World Cup qualifiers

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Brazil football team head coach Tite has recalled forward Diego Souza and midfielder Diego for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Paraguay later this month. Souza, who netted 31 goals for Brazil's Sport Recife last year, on Friday replaced injured Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus while former Atletico Madrid player Diego was rewarded for his outstanding form with Flamengo.

Both players impressed during Brazil's 1-0 victory over Colombia in an unofficial friendly in January to raise money for the Chapecoense air crash.

"Diego Souza was the most effective player in (last year's Brazilian) Serie A championship. He also played well against Colombia," Tite said at a news conference. "Diego trained while he was on vacation. He has been playing at a high level and preparing himself well. It's important to praise his attitude."

Capped three times for Brazil, Diego Souza has been absent from the international scene for more than five years. Diego, who has represented the Selecao 34 times, last took part in a FIFA-sanctioned international fixture in 2010.

As expected, Tite's 23-man squad included Barcelona forward Neymar, Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho and Paris Saint-Germain central defender Thiago Silva.

Uncapped Benfica goalkeeper Ederson was also named, as were China-based players Renato Augusto, Paulinho and Gil.

Brazil currently lead the South American zone qualifying standings for the 2018 World Cup and will secure a berth at the tournament in Russia if they beat Uruguay in Montevideo on March 23.

The Selecao will then meet Paraguay five days later at Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.

Brazil squad:

Goalkeepers: Ederson (Benfica), Alisson (Roma), Weverton (Atletico-PR)

Defenders: Thiago Silva (PSG), Marquinhos (PSG), Gil (Shandong Luneng), Miranda (Inter de Milão, Fagner (Corinthians), Daniel Alves (Juventus), Filipe Luís (Atletico de Madri), Marcelo (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Willian (Chelsea), Giuliano (Zenit St Petersberg), Diego (Flamengo)

Forwards: Neymar (Barcelona), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) Douglas Costa (Bayern de Munique), Diego Souza (Sport Recife).