It’s official: Tite is staying on. He signed a contract extension that means he will remain Brazil’s manager through the 2022 World Cup in Qatar—the first Brazil manager to retain the job after the World Cup since Cláudio Coutinho in 1978. He starts this World Cup cycle highly regarded in Brazil after a largely successful first two years in charge, despite Brazil’s quarterfinal loss in Russia—indeed, despite the fact that Brazil’s loss was largely down to Tite’s tactical errors, particuarly his continued loyalty to Paulinho and his decision to not include a like-for-like backup for Casemiro in the squad. Such is his popularity in Brazil, such is the admiration for what he’s managed to achieve considering the wreckage Dunga left, and, perhaps, such is the dearth of acceptable alternatives, that he’s been given the chance to atone for his errors. Now he has a full four years to experiment, build the ideal team, and, hopefully, win the World Cup next time out.
Here’s what he needs to do to make that happen. Continue reading
A World Cup cycle draws to a close, and before we concern ourselves with the buildup to the 2022 edition in Qatar, I thought it would be good to take a look back at the best, and worst, of Brazil over the last four years.
I’ve assembled a list of my personal choices, but I’ve also provided a poll with each category, to let you all vote on the highs and lows of the Seleção. If you have any categories you’d like to suggest, or nominees you think were egregiously snubbed, let me know in the comments.
Without further ado: Continue reading
Didn’t have time to write a real preview this weekend, but here are a few pre-match thoughts: Continue reading
We enter the third and final match of group play with two teams needing a win. Serbia, for any hope of qualification. Brazil, to secure qualification – and as a balm for their own wounded psyche. Continue reading
Our first game at this World Cup.
Brazil vs. Switzerland
Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don, June 17, 2018
Kickoff: 2:00 PM EDT / 3:00 PM BRT / 6:00 PM GMT
US TV: FS1, Telemundo
US Streaming: Fox Sports Go (requires cable login), Telemundo Deportes (free to all until June 25)
Starting Lineup: Alisson; Danilo, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marcelo (C); Casemiro, Paulinho, Coutinho; Willian, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar.
Zetona’s Opposition Profile™: Continue reading
Brazil’s World Cup campaign starts on Sunday, and at this point everything is pretty much set in stone. We know the tactics Tite will use, we know the players he’s picked, and we know how those players tend to play for Brazil. It’s hard to predict what’ll happen in a tournament as volatile for the World Cup. So I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to take a journey back in time, to this same moment on the eve of our past two World Cups. Where were we then? What did our prospects look like compared to now? In particular, how did the players we had back then stack up to the ones we do today?
That last question is the focus of this piece. I’m going to go through this year’s squad and compare it, position-by-position (roughly), to the squads we brought to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups—considering not just the players selected, but their form and fitness at the time. The goal of all this is simple: to demonstrate that, in terms of personnel, this is the best World Cup squad we’ve had since the golden age of 1994-2006 ended.
Let’s start at the back. Continue reading
My first article in over 1.5 years!
Since Tite took over the reins of the national team, how has the Seleção scored? Are they primarily a counter-attacking team, a la Dunga in 2010? Do they rely heavily on pressing and half-counters, like Scolari did until he and the entire squad dissolved into a nervous wreck?
Or has Tite brought back the intricate passing rhythms of Brazil’s golden age?
No, no, and no.
It was an interesting exercise, going back to analyze how Tite’s Brazil scored their goals. To be honest, the results were not quite what I expected. In my mind, I expected to find that half-counters were largely responsible for many goals, but the opposite turned out to be the case.
Here’s a breakdown of the 29 non-penalty goals Brazil scored in qualifiers after Tite took over: Continue reading