Coutinho and Fabinho out of Brazil’s WCup qualifying squad

Sports

SAO PAULO (AP) — Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho and Liverpool midfielder Fabinho were dropped from Brazil’s squad for a pair of World Cup qualifying matches in November because of injury.

The Brazilian soccer confederation said Wednesday that Coutinho will be replaced by Lyon forward Lucas Paquetá, while Everton’s Allan was called up in place of Fabinho for matches against Venezuela on Nov. 13 and Uruguay four days later.

Neymar is also in doubt for the two games. The Paris Saint-Germain striker left his team’s 2-0 Champions League win at Istanbul Basaksehir due a groin problem. The French club said he is expected to go through exams on Thursday.

Coutinho injured his left thigh on Saturday in Barcelona’s 3-1 loss to Real Madrid. Paquetá had initially been called up for Brazil’s Olympic team, which will play Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Fabinho picked up a right thigh injury on Tuesday during his team’s 2-0 Champions League win over Midtjylland.

Also on Wednesday, Manchester United said its left-back Alex Telles has contracted COVID-19, which will likely rule him out of Brazil’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers.

Brazil and Argentina lead the South American qualifying group with two wins from two matches.

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