A look at the talented Brazil team trying to win soccer gold

Brazil Olympics soccer

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil is contending for an Olympic gold medal in men’s soccer thanks to Neymar and a group of talented youngsters who soon could be starring in top European clubs.

The hosts play Honduras on Wednesday for spot in their third straight Olympic final.

Here’s a look at the players trying to lead Brazil to its first soccer gold medal:

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WEVERTON, goalkeeper: The 28-year-old player only made it to the team after veteran Fernando Prass got injured before Brazil’s opener at the Olympics. Despite being considered one of the best goalkeepers playing in Brazil, he is not expected to keep having many chances with the national team.

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ZECA, right back: The player is solid on defense and offense and recently has been linked to a move Atletico Madrid. He plays for Brazilian club Santos, the same team where Neymar thrived before leaving for Barcelona.

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RODRIGO CAIO, defender: Despite not being known for his size or strength, Rodrigo Caio excels with great technique with the ball. The player from Brazilian club Sao Paulo can also play as a defensive midfielder when needed. Italian teams AC Milan and Inter Milan reportedly have been trying to sign the gifted defender.

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MARQUINHOS, defender: The 22-yeard-old player left Brazil early, transferring from Corinthians to Roma before being signed by Paris Saint-Germain two years ago. He hasn’t started often, but gets to play from time to time and is widely expected to earn a more regular place on the main team.

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DOUGLAS SANTOS, left back: A regular in Brazil’s youth teams, he moved to small Spanish club Granada in 2013 and played briefly on loan to Udinese in Italy before returning to Brazil to play for Atletico Mineiro, where he has been a regular starter.

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WALACE, defensive midfielder: The 21-year-old was called up to the Olympic team after Fred got injured. He is relatively unknown in Brazil but has been key for Gremio in the Brazilian league. He became a starter at the Olympic tournament after replacing suspended Thiago Maia, the 19-year-old who is already linked with Fiorentina in Italy and Chelsea in England.

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RENATO AUGUSTO, midfielder: The 28-year-old was one of the three players older than 23 called up to Brazil’s Olympic team, along with Neymar and Weverton. He transferred from Brazilian club Flamengo to Bayer Leverkusen in 2008, returning to Brazil three years later to play for Corinthians. He is currently playing in China and is a regular on Brazil’s senior squad as well.

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NEYMAR, forward: The teams’ most experienced player, Neymar skipped the Copa America to try to give Brazil the Olympic gold medal. He was in the team that lost the 2012 final to Mexico in London. The Barcelona star is Brazil’s captain at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

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LUAN, forward: The 23-year-old is one of the up-and-coming forwards on the team. He hasn’t received as much attention as Gabriel Jesus or Gabigol, but has shown just as much talent, quickly becoming a starter after coming off the bench a few times. His Brazilian club, Gremio, reportedly has set his selling price at about 30 million euros ($34 million).

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GABIGOL: Only 19, Gabigol recently refused an offer from Italian club Juventus worth 20 million euros ($22.5 million). The sturdy and skillful striker currently plays for Santos and is set to follow in the footsteps of Neymar in European soccer and the national team.

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GABRIEL JESUS: Touted as one of Brazil’s best young players in years, the 19-year-old speedy forward signed a multimillion-dollar deal to transfer from Brazilian club Palmeiras to Manchester City just before the Olympics. Other clubs, including Barcelona and Manchester United, reportedly had been trying to sign him. He will stay with Palmeiras until next year and will have to fight for a starting spot at Man City with a few other youngsters signed by Pep Guardiola.

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