Olympic players back for Brazil's 2 friendlies

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SAO PAULO (AP) - Most of the Brazil players at the London Olympics were included Thursday in the senior squad for friendlies against South Africa and China next month.

Coach Mano Menezes picked Neymar, Oscar, Leandro Damiao and seven other players who were in the squad that failed to bring Brazil its first Olympic gold medal in football after losing 2-1 to Mexico in the final.

He also included defender David Luiz, midfielder Paulinho, right back Daniel Alves and defender Ramires, who were added to the senior squad for the friendly against Sweden just four days after the Olympic final in London.

Brazil will play South Africa on Sept. 7 in Sao Paulo and China on Sept. 10 in Recife. The five-time world champions are not playing in South American World Cup qualifiers because they have already secured their place in the 2014 tournament as hosts.

Playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso, who played sparingly at the Olympics, and the injured Alexandre Pato are not on the 22-player list.

Menezes said he left Ganso out because of his indecision regarding his club future. It has been rumored for quite some time that he will leave Santos but is yet to finalize a deal.

"This is not helping him," Menezes said. "He needs to make a decision about his future so he can once again become the type of player we want to see in the national team."

Ganso has been touted as one of the promising stars in Brazilian football, and Menezes once said he would be the man in charge of leading Brazil's midfield at the World Cup. At the Olympics, Ganso lost his starting spot to new Chelsea playmaker Oscar.

The other players who were also in the Olympic squad were Thiago Silva, Romulo, Sandro, Hulk, Marcelo, Alex Sandro and Lucas.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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