Understandably, Tite has given some of the big names of the team a rest-up from Brazil duty after a long European season. But have the right replacements come in?
Brazil coach Tite has announced his latest squad for the next two friendlies against Argentina and Australia, on June 9 and June 13, respectively. And there are a lot of wrong calls. As usual, the list featured many controversial inclusions and exclusions, as the Seleção boss decided to rest several key players after a long season of European football.
While it is totally understandable that Tite has opted to drop Alisson, Dani Alves, João Miranda, Marcelo, Casemiro, Neymar and Roberto Firmino – who had all been starters in the past few games – it is the names of their replacements that have caused controversy rather than the fact that the above-mentioned players are being rested. For in the end, the team needs to be able to deal with any situation, no matter who is absent and for whatever reason.
In the goalkeeping sector, Diego Alves’ comeback and Ederson’s inclusions all made sense, whereas Wéverton’s inclusion in the group is not justified, when there are at least two goalkeepers better than him in the Brazilian league such as Fernando Prass and Vanderlei da Silva.
As for the back-line, we will witness something totally new as all the previous starters have been rested. Thiago Silva starting is likely to please the fans, while Alex Sandro getting his first call-up under Tite is an added source of excitement. David Luiz has had an excellent season with Chelsea and has been rewarded with a comeback.
As for the midfield, this could perhaps be what most Brazil fans are *not* looking forward – as it is expected that Tite opts for experience and retains Fernandinho, Paulinho and Renato Augusto. Lucas Lima would have added technicality and creativity, if it wasn’t for a late injury with Santos, which means he has been left out of the squad.
The only possible surprises could be Rodrigo Caio playing as a defensive midfielder rather than centre-back, Giuliano replacing Paulinho and finally Tite deciding to test Coutinho in a central role rather than throwing him wide with freedom to roam. In Neymar’s absence, will the Liverpool man occupy his function or will he drop deeper as he has done in his last few games in the English league?
And last but not least, the attack has traditionally been the number one source of joy for Brazil fans. But is this the case this time around? With Barcelona star Neymar being dropped, the front three could either be composed of two real wingers in Willian, Douglas Costa and/or Taison flanking Gabriel Jesus, or opting yet again for Coutinho as wide play-maker. The latter is the option that Brazil fans are hoping to get rid of, as the consensus on Philippe’s improvisation being needed in midfield, is starting to grow.
Adenor Bacchi has no doubt displayed courage and intelligence by dropping many key players in order to prepare the team for any situation ahead of the World Cup in 2018, but the issue lays within the replacements. Instead of Rafinha, Paulinho, Taison and Diego Souza, Brazil fans would have preferred to see Fabinho, Thiago Maia, Felipe Anderson and Tiquinho Soares, for example. Tite has won nine games out of nine, maintaining a full marks so far. But this could change against Argentina, even-though the manager has himself admitted that he will use the upcoming friendlies with the goal of testing and gaining experience – dropping some key players was perhaps an evidence that confirms his words.