It’s a rivalry match to whet the appetite Down Under with Brazil taking on Argentina. But has Tite picked an XI too weak to take on their old enemy?
Brazil coach Tite is playing with fire, as next year’s World Cup is just around the corner. The manager has decided to rest usual starters from the lineup in order to experiment over how the team operates in their absence. But will the experiment pay off?
Brazil is getting ready to clash with South American arch-rivals Argentina in Melbourne on Friday. Alisson, Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Miranda, Marcelo, Casemiro, Neymar and Roberto Firmino have all been rested after grueling European seasons.
In their absence, the fans expected to witness the inclusion of exciting prospects and new faces such as AS Monaco midfield star Fabinho, or FC Porto target-man Tiquinho Soares. However, Tite has picked a rather uninspiring squad to fill the gaps.
South American national teams have reached rock bottom in the past few years, as Europeans dominated the last three editions of the World Cup. Recent events have shown real life evidence as to why the CONMEBOL qualifiers are not a barometer to test how well Brazil would fare in Russia. As a matter of fact, Brazil’s last three eliminations came at the hands of European teams: France in 2006, the Netherlands in 2010 and Germany in 2014.
Europeans focus on retaining possession, whereas South Americans opponents would rather sit deep and hit back with counter attacks. Brazil is yet to experience different type of approaches, so instead of booking two friendlies against Argentina and Australia, it would have perhaps been smarter to play the likes of France, Germany, Italy or Spain. However, with Jorge Sampaoli being appointed as new Argentina coach, it is likely that they will change their game to a more offensive tactical scheme, forcing Tite’s man to test their ability in playing without the ball.
That said, Brazil’s lineup is hardly exciting for the fans. Weverton being favored ahead of Diego Alves does not make any kind of sense, whereas starting a Chinese Super league trio (Gil, Renato Augusto and Paulinho) continues to draw question marks about how they would cope with the high intensity that European oppositions would provide.
Furthermore, Tite has shown lack of audacity by retaining Coutinho on the front three, rather than testing his much needed creativity in midfield. Is it the fear of facing a strong Argentinian side motivated with Paulo Dybala and Leo Messi’s comeback, as well as Sampaoli’s arrival?
The Argentinians will do their best to give the new boss their efforts, so they will be motivated more than ever to pull out a win against Brazil, which would give them the morale-boost they have been looking for.
Meanwhile, Brazil has nothing to lose from this game, having already booked a ticket to Russia. So instead of trying significant experiments, Tite has chosen a safe, pragmatic lineup. Which means that besides not having anything to lose, Brazil might also not have anything significant to win. Who wants to see sub-par players pull out an occasional decent performance and guarantee their spot in the long term, rather than dropping them for Ederson, Marquinhos, Fabinho, Tiquinho Soares et al?
Adenor Bacchi is playing with fire, just like Luiz Felipe Scolari did following his triumph in the Confederations Cup, exactly a year prior to the most prestigious tournament. While it is true that Tite has always looked humble and wary in his press conferences, it is also true that in some cases, actions speak louder than words.