Despite having qualified for next year’s World Cup in Russia several months ago, the seleção were in no mood for charity last week. Tite fielded a full strength team, which brushed aside Chile 3-0. That result, combined with others, means that Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and co will not be spending their summer in Russia next year.
After securing a credible 0-0 draw with Bolivia – credible, because it was played at 3,600 meters above sea level and were it not for the heroics of Bolivia’s keeper Lampe they would have won – the seleção came back down to earth with a 3-0 win against Chile in São Paulo on Tuesday last week. The match was played at the home ground of Palmeiras and it was fitting that Gabriel Jesus, who won the title with Palmeiras last year, should score two goals. Paulinho, whose form with the seleção earned him a move from China to Barcelona this summer, scored the other goal, his sixth of the qualifying campaign.
It was another routine win for Tite’s men who were the first team to qualify for next year’s World Cup and finished their 18-match qualifying campaign with only one defeat, and ten points ahead of second-placed Uruguay. It wasn’t always that way for Brazil, who had been in terrible form under Dunga, who was fired just over one year ago. Under Tite, the team haven’t looked back. What is even more impressive is despite qualifying for the competition several months ago, Tite has not allowed his players to take their foot off the pedal; the teams fielded against Chile and Bolivia were practically full strength.
There were two changes against Chile from the team that drew with Bolivia. Ederson and Marquinhos came into the side, taking the places of Alisson and Thiago Silva – the first change was always planned and the second change was due to the injury to Thiago Silva. Ederson was making his seleção debut and Marquinhos was given the captain’s armband for the first time. Why not make more changes? Simple. The first team can improve.
The full lineup against Chile was: Ederson; Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Miranda, Alex Sandro; Casemiro, Paulinho, Renato Augusto (Fernandinho); Philippe Coutinho (Firmino), Gabriel Jesus, Neymar (Willian).
Against Bolivia, Brazil had several chances to win the game. Neymar played very well, but the goal eluded him, and his teammates, partly due to poor finishing and partly due to the goalkeeping heroics of the Bolivian keeper Lampe.
The full line up was: Alisson; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva (Marquinhos), Miranda, Alex Sandro; Casemiro, Paulinho (Fernandinho), Renato Augusto; Philippe Coutinho (Willian), Gabriel Jesus, Neymar.
Also in the squad for these two matches was young Monaco fullback Jorge, as well as Danilo (Man City), Fred (Shaktar), Arthur (Gremio) and Diego Tardelli (Shandong Luneng). Diego, the Flamengo midfielder, was called up, but later ruled out with an injury.
Looking ahead, there are just four more matches (or two call-ups) before Tite names his final 23 man squad for next year’s World Cup. The coach has indicated that he is unlikely to call on any players that haven’t already been included in one of his squads, seemingly ruling out the likes of Vanderlei, who has been in brilliant form for Santos season, and hopefuls such as Richarlison, who I have been impressed with before and after his move to Watford. The squad for the upcoming friendlies against Japan and England will be named on the 20th of October.
According to Globoesporte, 17 players are almost certain to be on the plan to Russia next year. That leaves six positions up for grabs. They are: a third choice goalkeeper, a reserve right back, a fourth choice centre back, two midfielders and one reserve striker.
The players that are seemingly going to be on the plane are: Alisson, Ederson, Daniel Alves, Marcelo, Filipe Luís, Miranda, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Renato Augusto, Willian, Philippe Coutinho, Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino
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