Philippe Coutinho was the biggest loser for Brazil in the international break, a footballer who is now facing serious competition for his place
In the last two friendlies before Tite reveals his Copa América squad, a poor result against Panama (1-1), was followed by a 3-1 victory over the Czech Republic in Prague. The fans are not happy with the outcome of said matches, but despite that, there are players who impressed more than others. So, who are the biggest winners and biggest losers from the FIFA date?
The Ajax man has been very impressive in the Eredivisie as well as the Champions League, especially against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu. But a cameo second-half appearance against the Czechs changed the whole game for Brazil, as he was involved in two of the three goals.
Fans already believe he should be a starter or at least a key substitute, because it is clear how much better Brazil does with two pacy wingers rather than Coutinho who is not a winger and Richarlison whose characteristics are more suitable for a striker than a genuine wide player.
Alex Sandro had been disappointing in his previous appearances for Brazil, but his performance against the Czechs was by far his best to date, as he displayed solid defensive abilities, good physique and shielded his ball well along with moving it forward.
The Juve full-back will take advantage of the fact that Marcelo is out of favor, whereas Filipe Luís is injured and not getting any younger. Brazilians are still having nightmares over Marcelo’s poor display against Belgium – he was weak defensively and ineffective going forward. Now is the right time for Sandro to step up and seize the opportunity.
Brazil fans have been worried that Paulinho and Renato Augusto would somehow sneak their way into the starting lineup ahead of the Copa América, but the reassuring performance from Allan against the Czech Republic, especially in the second half, means that supporters can now hope of seeing him and Arthur Melo displace the Chinese Super League midfield duo.
Allan brings physicality and balance to Brazil’s midfield, something the team missed when Belgium’s players bypassed them like they were shadows in the World Cup.
Very ineffective in both games, it seems that he is not physically nor defensively strong enough to occupy a spot in midfield – the fact that he gives away possession quite often does not help – and is not pacy enough to operate as a genuine winger on either one of the two flanks.
With rising wingers like David Neres, Vinícius Júnior and Felipe Anderson, it is difficult to favor Coutinho ahead of them. The poor form of the Barcelona man at his club does not help make a case for him, either.
The Corinthians right-back is an intelligent player, albeit very limited in terms of abilities. His body often does not possess the quality to translate ideas into useful plays. Looking at the fact that Danilo impressed against the Czech Republic and Dani Alves will be back from injury soon enough, this could mean that Fágner has lost his spot for Copa América.
Lucas played just fine against Panama and was able to find the back of the net, but the following appearance against the Czech Republic was quite poor. In fairness, Brazil played a bad first half in general so it is difficult to draw many conclusions and blame one player.
But the fact that Allan and Arthur impressed in the second half, means that Lucas is one of the losers of this round, as these players are his direct competitors for a midfield spot. But Lucas remains a talented youngster who is doing well at Milan, and will certainly have more opportunities in the future.
There were many winners and losers for Brazil during the last two matches. It is worth noting that Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus did not do too well against Panama, but were both able to find the back of the net against the Czech Republic. So they are neither winners nor losers in the sense that the competition between them is still as big as ever.