Aside from the rise and rise of Arthur, few major decisions can be made by Tite on Brazil’s strongest line-up after the latest round of international games
Brazil won both games during the recent FIFA date, after beating Saudi Arabia and Argentina in Riyadh and Jeddah respectively. However, the performances left a lot to be desired. Fans were expecting more dominant displays. Some players took advantage to solidify their presence in the team, whereas others may have fallen down in the pecking order.
The last two wins on Saudi territory meant that Brazil boss Tite has now achieved four straight friendly victories without conceding any goals – the United States, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia and Argentina.
Of course, this will be far from enough to make the fans forget the upset of what they consider an early knockout against Belgium in the quarter-final of the World Cup. The team needs to show much more than that, to regain the confidence of Brazilians.
There is no doubt that national team managers use the performances of their players in friendlies as an essential test for deserves a spot in the team. This is especially true when we are talking about Brazilian managers. So what are the conclusions from the last two games?
Both goalkeepers Ederson and Alisson were not really tested, but the Liverpool-man will still be in pole position. The City-man is remains a capable replacement. Moving on to the back-four, Danilo has failed to impress and picked up an injury against Argentina, which means that Fabinho will still be considered the main option for that position.
In central defense, Marquinhos and Miranda confirmed once again that they are two of the top three options, alongside Thiago Silva, with a very measured performance against Argentina from the pair.
The Internazionale defender scored the late-winner with a well-placed header. Alex Sandro did not have a notable performance against Saudi Arabia but still managed to score a goal.
In central midfield, Walace did not have enough time to show whether he is a good alternative for Casemiro, so this is a problem that has not been solved yet. But in the six role, Arthur has quite comfortably shown that he is a more reliable option than Fred.
Barcelona’s rising star impressed more in almost every department. When Arthur is playing, it feels like the midfielder knows what’s going on around him, whereas the Manchester United midfielder still looks a bit lost. On the other hand, Coutinho under-performed in the second match, but everybody is allowed to have an off-game, right?
Philippe has been in a long-standing battle with some of his critics, trying to prove that he is a genuine attacking midfielder, capable of operating in this function. But many still insist that he is better off playing as wide-playmaker. This is a saga that is set to continue for months to come.
Regarding the front three, Gabriel Jesus scored in the first match, which will certainly revive his presence with the national team in the future. Neymar continues to improve, becoming more and more collected with time. Richarlison and Roberto Firmino are always good options to have, but the right-wing spot is still pretty much up for grabs, with Lucas Moura failing to send a strong message and not taking advantage of Douglas Costa’s injury.
Brazil has options in almost all positions, in their quest to build a solid side for the upcoming Copa América. How to make the right choice is Tite’s next task.