With Brazil already qualified for Russia 2018, Tite sees the final qualifiers as a chance to give late arrivals the opportunity to board the World Cup plane
The last two rounds of the World Cup qualifiers in South America are about to begin, and Brazil, who have already booked a ticket to Russia, will be looking to finish the campaign with maximum points. In addition to that, Tite has included a couple of new faces, who may have the opportunity to win over the manager just in time to secure themselves a spot in Russia. What can we expect from the next two matches against Bolivia and Chile?
After ending the season with Real Madrid on a high and following his decent start to life in England with Manchester City, Danilo has earned his first call-up since 2015. Dani Alves is one yellow away from suspension, which means that a card against Bolivia secures Danilo a start in the next game. The former FC Porto man will have the chance to reunite with Alex Sandro.
With Marcelo and Filipe Luis being left out of the squad due to injuries, the Juventus defender is the one who benefits the most. It will be extremely tough to displace Marcelo, but a fight with Filipe Luis for the back-up spot may not be out of reach. Meanwhile, Monaco rising talent Jorge will be hoping to mark his name if he were to feature in the second-half.
In central defense, Thiago Silva’s recent performances have not gone unnoticed, as Tite has decided to pair him with João Miranda at the expense of Marquinhos. The Paris Saint Germain captain has been nothing short of sensational this season, and rightly wins his place back. It seems that Jemerson is by some margin, the fourth option in the pecking order.
Moving on to midfield, we reach the most exciting part. Out-of-form Flamengo star Diego Ribas has been dropped, after picking up a late injury. There will be no replacement, as Tite had already selected an additional player. But if anything, this means that Grêmio and Shakhtar midfielders Arthur and Fred, have just received a huge boost.
Casemiro, Fernandinho, Paulinho and Renato Augusto are all one yellow away from suspension, so in case anyone gets a bookable offense against Bolivia, the two young faces will have a big chance to start against Chile. Two technically-gifted players with bags of potential – this is certainly good news for Brazil fans.
Philippe Coutinho will start in attack, teaming up with Gabriel Jesus and Neymar – arguably the deadliest trio in the South American qualifiers. It seems that Tite favors the Liverpool man over Willian for the wing spot, which helps Arthur and Fred gain further hope of game-time in midfield.
Roberto Firmino is set to sit on the bench, alongside Chinese league star Diego Tardelli, who had not received an invitation to represent the national team, since the Dunga days back in 2015. Many have questioned his sudden inclusion, which came out of the blue.
To conclude, Brazil may have already qualified for Russia, but with less than a year until the main event, there are a lot of question marks surround Adenor Bacchi’s selection, or even his starting lineup, for that matter. There is growing demand to give Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson a chance as Alisson has already had many, while some believe that Thiago Silva should be a lock in the back-line, and that Coutinho has to take Renato Augusto’s spot in midfield.
Will the boss bow down to the pressure, or will his bets end up paying dividends?