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Major absentees: Neymar, Casemiro, Memo Ochoa, Chucky Lozano will miss the 2024 Copa Amrica in the United States

  • May 14, 2024
  • 6
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The countdown is on for the countries participating in the Copa América 2024 this summer. With less than two months to go before the event, teams have begun to unveil the lists of players who will travel to the United States to vie for continental glory.

Brazil and Mexico led the way in this regard, but, as is often the case with such decisions, the absence of certain players sparked discussion.

According to the competition regulations, teams can select a minimum of 35 players for their provisional list, of which only 23 will ultimately be selected.

Brazil The five-time world champions were the first to announce their 23-man squad. Brazil coach Dorival Júnior reserved some surprises in his selection, notably excluding Neymar, Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison.

This is Neymar’s first absence from a major tournament with the ‘Seleção’ since the 2019 Copa América. The Al-Hilal star has been sidelined since October 2023 due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Neymar’s absence will undoubtedly leave a considerable void within the Brazilian national team. Not only is the 32-year-old the Canarinha’s second most capped player with 128 caps, but he also holds the all-time goalscoring record for Brazil, surpassing Pele’s tally of 77 goals in last September.

Following their absence from Brazil’s friendlies in March, Premier League duo Casemiro and Gabriel Jesus will not feature in Dorival Júnior’s plans for the summer tournament.

However, teenage sensation Endrick, who caught the eye at a remarkably young age, was retained in the final squad. The 17-year-old made his debut for Brazil last November and scored his first goals for the ‘Seleção’ against England and Spain during the March international break, becoming the fourth-youngest scorer in the Brazilian history and the youngest since Ronaldo in 1994.

Mexico ‘El Tri’ followed suit but revealed a provisional roster for the 2024 Copa América, comprising 31 players, notably excluding legendary goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. The veteran goalkeeper last missed a major tournament with Mexico during the 2021 Gold Cup, while playing with the Olympic team in Tokyo.

‘Memo’ has been Mexico’s starting goalkeeper since 2014 and ranks third all-time in matches played for ‘El Tri’ with 151 caps, behind only Andrés Guardado (181) and Claudio Suárez (177). Ochoa was Mexico’s goalkeeper in their last Copa América appearance, losing in the quarterfinals in a historic 7-0 defeat to Chile.

Coach Jaime Lozano’s provisional roster of 31 players has an average age of 25 and no player has played more than 75 games for Mexico.

Julián Quiñones, born in Colombia, was chosen over players like Raúl Jiménez and Henry Martín. Quiñones completed his naturalization process in 2023 and quickly received his first national team call-up. He played three matches for Mexico and previously scored his first goal in a 3–0 win over Panama in the CONCACAF Nations League semi-final.

Besides Ochoa and Jiménez, Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano is another important player who will not be part of Jaime Lozano’s plans for the 2024 Copa América. Despite the lack of any current injuries, Lozano’s exclusion is surprising.

One reason could be to give Lozano time to sort out his future at club level. Recent reports indicate that ‘Chucky’ Lozano is close to finalizing a move to new MLS expansion team San Diego FC, which is expected to enter contention as early as the 2025 season.