Gabriel Menino in Seleção squad for upcoming qualifiers

Gabriel Menino is happy with his call up (pic: Getty Images)

With a national team squad named by Tite and World Cup qualifiers to come soon, football is slowly, but surely getting back to normal.

With a national team squad named by Tite and World Cup qualifiers to come soon, football is slowly, but surely getting back to normal.

It’s been a long time since the Seleção were last in action – 10 months ago to the day to be precise. With COVID cases still high and global travel restrictions in place, Brazil didn’t participate in the last round of international games. It is a little bit odd that now that cases are going up in Europe, that European-based South American players will now fly home for World Cup qualifiers. At least the case numbers were declining in Brazil the last time I checked.

Anyway, we’ve all heard enough about COVID over the last few months – the point is that international football, and the Seleção, are back! Tite named his squad for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against Bolivia (9th October) and Peru (14th October) on Friday.

The biggest surprise was the inclusion of 19-year old Palmeiras midfielder Gabriel Menino. The kid has mainly played in midfield for Palmeiras this season but was named in the squad as a right back by Tite. He has played there in the past for Palmeiras – both in the first team and at youth level – and those that watch Palmeiras more than I do agree that his best position is an attacking right back. The call up reflects well on the lad’s quality, but also a lack of strength in depth in the position.

There was no space for Daniel Alves, surprisingly. The 37-year-old has been in solid, but not spectacular for São Paulo this season. Like Menino, he has been playing in midfield. Is this the beginning of the end of a great international career, I wonder?

Another surprise exclusion was Manchester City’s Ederson, who committed a few high-profile blunders for City in recent months. I don’t know if there is any specific reason why he hasn’t been included and it will be interesting to see if there is one or if he has been dropped. There was no space for Gabriel Barbosa or Bruno Henrique (who is just returning from an injury). Also, no call ups for Arthur (due to lack of rhythm according to Tite), Allan, Éder Militão, Alex Sandro, Willian, Lucas Paquetá, Fagner, Emerson or Gabriel Magalhães.

Felipe and Rodrigo Caio will provide backup to Thiago Silva and Marquinhos in defence, while Porto’s Alex Telles replaced Alex Sandro, who I think is injured. The squad seems a little lopsided in attack since Coutinho, Everton, Rodrygo, Richarlison and Neymar are all better playing on the left than on the right. Everson Ribeiro – one of Flamengo’s better players this season – has been called up, but he is more likely to play in midfield than one of Brazil’s wingers, although he is left footed so there is a chance that he is given a role on the right and encouraged to cut inside. Surprisingly, there was no place for the left-footed, right-sided attackers Douglas Costa, David Neres or Antony.

It’s nice to have the Seleção back after such a long break. And it will be refreshing to see if they have any new ideas, the rhythm of the team. The team and coach are under some pressure, which may have eased slightly with the passage of time. After winning the Copa America, performances and results have been poor. The ended off last year with a 3-0 win against South Korea, but before that match Brazilfooty had called for Tite to go after a string of bad results and performances – draws against Senegal, Colombia and Nigeria and defeats against Peru and Argentina. Results aren’t too important in international friendlies but the performances were poor and there didn’t seem to be a coherent plan or style in Brazil’s play. Let’s see what this next set of games brings. For more Seleção-related posts, check out the dedicated Seleção page on brazilfooty.com.

The full squad for the upcoming games:

Goalkeepers

Alisson (Liverpool), Santos (Athletico-PR), Weverton (Palmeiras)

Fullbacks

Danilo (Juventus), Gabriel Menino (Palmeiras), Alex Telles (Porto), Renan Lodi (Atletico Madrid)

Defenders

Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Marquinhos (PSG), Felipe (Atletico Madrid), Rodrgio Caio (Flamengo)

Midfielders

Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fabinho (Liverpool), Bruno Guimarães (Lyon), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo)

Forwards

Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Neymar (PSG), Everton (Benfica), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Richarlison (Everton)

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