Tite has named Brazil’s squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. There were no major surprises; Neymar made the list, but Dani Alves misses out through injury.
There is an election in Brazil later this year but nobody cares about that. The day everybody talks about and debates is the day that the Seleção coach announces the squad that will be going to the World Cup. That day was Tuesday.
There weren’t too many surprises this year, partly because, since becoming coach, Tite has managed to foster stability and continuity. He has given many players a chance, but they were fighting for just a few places. For months he has said that in his mind he knew 15 or 16 players who would definitely be travelling. The fringe players that made the cut are: Cassio, Fagner, Danilo, Geromel, Fred, Douglas Costa, Taison.
The most significantly news, really, is that Neymar is on the list. The player has been sidelined for months and hasn’t played since sustaining a foot injury while playing for PSG. He is expected to be fit, which is a massive boost for Brazil. The bad news is that Dani Alves has suffered an injury. He was replaced by Man City’s Danilo. I’m a bit surprised that Tite is taking five defensive midfielders and only two out and out strikers. Can you imagine if Roberto Firmino or Gabriel Jesus get injured? Then what?
There is no space for Arthur, the young box to box midfielder who is tipped to join Barcelona and was expected by many to travel to Russia; he may have missed out due to recent injury problems. The two most surprising names on the list were probably centre back Pedro Geromel (of Gremio) and attacking midfielder come forward Taison (of Shakhtar Donetsk). Pedro Geromel was one of the three locally-based players in the squad – Cassio and Fagner of Corinthians were the others. Three a low number, unfortunately, but the reality is that most of Brazil’s best players play their football in Europe. There were only four locally-based players in 2014, three in 2010 and three in 2006.
Most punters more of less agree with Tite. A survey of Brazil fans, conducted before the squad was announced, showed only four differences. Players that the public would have that aren’t in are: Rafinha, Arthur, Lucas Lima, Rodriguinho. Luan was also tipped by many, albeit most of them were in the South (and probably Gremio fans). Players that they wouldn’t take are: Fred, Fagner, Renato Augusto and Taison. I would make two changes: instead of Renato Augusto and Taison, I’d take Willian Jose and Luan.
Here is the full squad:
Alisson, Ederson, Cássio
Danilo, Fagner, Marcelo, Filipe Luís.
Miranda, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Geromel
Casemiro, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Renato Augusto, Fred
Philippe Coutinho, Willian, Neymar, Douglas Costa
Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Taison
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