Watch: Neymar praised as Tite labels Brazil World Cup favourites

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Striker Neymar, who hasn’t played since injury in February, was named Monday as the star of a Brazilian team that coach Tite said has a good chance of winning the World Cup in Russia.

“Brazil is one of the favorites given the football it has shown, given its consistency,” Tite said at the team announcement in Rio de Janeiro.

He said the national team, seeking a record sixth championship, stands out for being “aggressive, scoring goals.”

“That’s not being arrogant, it’s just telling the truth,” Tite said.

Neymar’s returning form will be a key factor. He has been out since requiring surgery for a broken bone in his foot while playing for Paris Saint-Germain, and is only now easing back into training.

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Mexico, USA not to feature as CONMEBOL announces Copa America 2019

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The CONMEBOL confirmed on Friday that for the first time since 1991, Mexico will not be taking part in the Copa America.

The Copa America 2019 is set to take place in Brazil and the local organising committee is finalising the cities and stadiums which will host the matches. The tournament will feature 12 teams.

While the competition is South America’s championship, it does feature two invited guests, one of which has been Mexico for the last nine years.

The relationship between the Mexico federation and its counterpart in South America has suffered in the last few years though. Mexico also pulled out of the Copa Llibertadores stating that it had difficulties in fitting the tournament in to the Mexican calendar.

Meanwhile, it has tried to initiate a partnership with Major League Soccer, for a game between the champions of both the leagues and an idea of a tournament in the future.

Stating in a pres release, CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez said – “The 2019 Copa America Brazil will be a passionate competition in which anyone can win the title.”

“In addition to having the participation of the national teams from our 10 member associations, we’re once again welcoming the Japan national team, whose association we have a close link of friendship and good relationship with.

“And, for the first time, we’ll have the participation of the Qatar national team, which will be the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”

The two invited guests who have already accepted invitations include – Japan and Qatar.

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Carlo Ancelotti turns down Italy coaching job

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Carlo Ancelotti has turned down the offer to take over as Italy coach, according to press reports on Sunday.

Italy have been without a permanent coach since Gian Piero Ventura was sacked after the four-time champions failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after losing to Sweden in a two-legged playoff in November.

Ancelotti, who was sacked by Bayern Munich last September, had met with Italian Football Federation (FIGC) officials in Rome last week.

But Corriere dello Sport reported that despite the 58-year-old being offered the job he had decided to turn it down after taking a few days to consider his decision.

Ancelotti has also been linked with taking over as Arsenal manager when Arsene Wenger steps down at the end of the season.

The Italian coach, who has also managed Chelsea, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus, Roma and Paris Saint-Germain, has three Champions League titles to his name as a coach. He has also won the league in Italy, France, Germany and England.

FIGC sub-commissioner Alessandro Costacurta — who was coached by Ancelotti at AC Milan in the 1980s — has been appointed to find a successor to Ventura, and has said said the deadline for the appointment remained May 20.

Among the other names being touted are Zenit St Petersburg coach Roberto Mancini, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and former Leicester coach Claudio Ranieri, now in charge of French club Nantes.

Italy’s under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio has been filling the position on an interim basis.

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