“But, most importantly, Brazil have won and halted the lean-patch. Now, this form must not fade and should be displayed consistently with the right kind of Brazilian flair in the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, Copa America and against top European sides”

It might sound funny, but keeping in mind the recent performances since the end of Copa America, Brazil started off as the underdogs against South Korea. Especially, after defeats against an average Peru side and Messi-led Argentina, where the Selecao played one of their worst matches this year, it seemed that even South Korea could pose a big threat against Tite’s men.

But thankfully, it did not happen. Brazil pulled off a comprehensive 3-0 victory to break the jinx, which was turning from bad to worse in each match.

Tite started the match with his favourite 4-1-4-1 formation. The good thing was that, Tite had put the right players in the right positions: Arthur and Lucas Paqueta were placed in central midfield (CM) position with Philippe Coutinho given a more role in the central attacking midfield (CAM) from where he wandered from left to centre aiding Brazil to provide the desired opportunities. Behind them, Fabinho worked as a pivot, which was another great move as it gave the CM and CAM to advance without fear. Moreover, resting a tired Casemiro was ideal.

Arthur and Paqueta complemented each other very well. It was bound to happen as both the players were provided with their ideal positions. Meanwhile, Fabinho, as usual, was like a wall in front of defence.

To play Renan Lodi as a left-wing-back created a huge impact throughout the match until he was substituted. He had been involved in the first and third goal of Brazil: the first goal resulted from a delicate dribble of Coutinho, who linked-up with Lodi masterfully. Lodi received the ball and immediately provided the cross to Paqueta, who scored his second goal for the Selecao.

The second goal was from a free-kick. It was Coutinho who scored from the distance with a picture-perfect free-kick. Astonishingly, it was Brazil’s first-ever goal from a free-kick since Neymar score one against Colombia way back in 2014.

Certainly, this was quite astonishing as the Brazilians are famous for scoring majestic goals from free-kicks. But somehow, for a brief period, one could not witness this magic, which had been frustrating for the Brazil fans. Thankfully, this jinx had been broken as well.

The third goal came from another classic Brazilain build-up play – the ball moved from CM to the left, where Coutinho passed it to centre and again the ball moved to left where Lodi passed it to the right flank, and Danilo provided the final touch.

The South Korean defence were left baffled by the dazzling display of Brazilian football.  That is what the fans pay their money and spend 90 minutes in front of television to watch Brazil – silky passes at pace and accuracy, toying with opposition defence and then script a smooth finish.

Lodi impressed everyone. Whether Brazil have finally found their ideal left-back or not remains a moot question – only time will tell. His real test would be against the top teams of world football. But at present, Brazil need to keep the faith in him and provide more playing time in future. Lodi is much better than Alex Sandro.

Again, it was good to see Emerson given a Selecao debut at the fag end of the match. Emerson is a better right-back than Danilo. Time and again Danilo failed to cut a satisfactory figure. And for which, the time has come to try and test young guns like Lodi and Emerson.

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Tite’s gamble with Brazil’s number 9 position had not been satisfactory by any means. Richarlison is not a number 9 player whereas Gabriel Jesus is not a winger. Tite could have started off with Jesus as the lone striker and Rodrygo Goes on the right-wing. The idea to play Rodrygo in the last 4 to 5 minutes was funny. Rodrygo is a talent and he has brought with him a rich vein of form from Real Madrid. The friendlies against Argentina and South Korea were ideal platforms to exploit the talent of such a promising young prodigy.

But, most importantly, Brazil have won and halted the lean-patch. Now, this form must not fade and should be displayed consistently with the right kind of Brazilian flair in the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, Copa America and against top European sides.

Winning is a habit and it would only be achieved by playing with the right combination.

I hope Tite does not bank on his so-called favourite players more often.

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