Tomorrow at 11 AM Brazil time (10 AM Eastern, 2 PM GMT), Tite will call up players for next month’s friendlies against the United States and El Salvador. It’ll be his first squad since the World Cup, the first squad of the 2022 World Cup cycle. Here’s what to expect:
The First Post-World Cup Squad Always Sends A Message
Every Brazil coach uses this opportunity to send a message, and that message tends to be “I’m going in an exciting new direction.” This generally means a lot of promising young names people wanted in the World Cup squad, and a clearout of the old, washed-up players deemed most responsible for the World Cup loss. There’s also an accompanying subtext of “the last coach sucked and his player choices were stupid”, but you know what they say about people in glass houses: only one of the Neymar-Pato-Ganso trio Mano Menezes called in 2010 actually panned out while the coach was exposed as completely out of his depth, whereas Dunga came crawling back to Dani Alves and Thiago Silva within a year of making a big show of leaving them out after the 2014 World Cup.
Tite’s in the unique position of still being in charge after the World Cup, but I expect the message will be similar: “I’ve learned from my mistakes.” I’ve read reports about how he realizes that the team’s main shortcoming at the World Cup was in midfield, and that it’s likely he’ll ditch his aging stalwarts like Paulinho and Renato Augusto. He’s also made clear how much he admires youngsters like Arthur and Lucas Paquetá, but didn’t have enough time to observe them in order to bring them to the World Cup. Perhaps he’ll even make the case that those youngsters represent the exciting new direction he would have taken at the World Cup had he had more time to experiment. In any case, it seems extremely likely that he’ll choose a squad full of youngsters. Continue reading