It’s that time again. Already.
On Friday the 26th at, as always, 11 AM Brazil time, Tite will announce the team that will face Uruguay on November 16 and (almost certainly) Cameroon on the 20th. These are our last friendlies until March, so this is the last chance for a while that I’ll have to speculate about what Tite’s planning.
Here’s what I’m expecting:
- The big news coming out of Brazilian outlets right now is that Napoli’s Allan is likely to finally earn the Brazil call he has long deserved. Tite was in attendance to watch him put in a strong shift against Neymar and PSG on Wednesday night, and considering that every other Brazilian on the pitch is a regular and a known quantity for Brazil, it’s hard to imagine he was there for any other purpose than scoping out Allan.
- With the Copa Libertadores and Brasileirão both coming down to the wire, the clubs involved will ask Tite not to select any of their players. I don’t know whether or not this means we won’t see any Brazil-based players, but all the most interesting options in the league—like Dudu, Luan, Everton, and Lucas Paquetá—play for teams with a real chance of winning at least one of those titles, so we’re not likely to see any of them.
- We have to accept that Marcelo’s going to be back. He would have been in the squad for the October games if not for his injury, and he’s been one of the few bright spots for Real Madrid this season. I just hope we see a genuinely new left-back selected to complement him, but I have to figure it’ll either be Filipe Luís or Alex Sandro once again.
- Who might be on their way out of the squad? I’d have to think Tite will try someone other than Walace—quite possibly Allan—as Casemiro’s backup, while Fred might lose his spot after his poor performance in the October friendlies, along with his disappearance from Manchester United’s starting XI. I’d have to think Gabriel Jesus might miss out as well given his continued poor form and lack of playing time, but he did score against Saudi Arabia. Lucas Moura might not get another shot after being pretty poor in that same game. Danilo is out injured, which creates an interesting dilemma at right back. Pablo struck me as a one-time inclusion, but I’m not sure who might replace him.
- Who else might come in? With Danilo injured, Éder Militão will likely be selected as a right-back again, opening a spot for someone (I’d guess Thiago Silva) in the center. I’d have to think Douglas Costa will come back after being sorely missed in these last two games. Unfortunately, I think Tite, lacking imagination, will also select Willian on the right wing, in part because these friendlies are being played in London. (Felipe Anderson also plays in London, but I don’t think he’s really on the radar—nor has he put in the sort of performances for West Ham that would put him on the radar.) I really hope we see Willian José given a chance, because it really seems like the setup Tite wants to play requires a tall, strong number 9 of the sort Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus, and Richarlison aren’t.
- Hopefully we’ll see Tite select a U-20 “work experience” player who isn’t a goalie this time—not that they’re likely to see the field. I don’t have a clue who that might be, but considering Alisson, Ederson, and Neto are all in good form, it seems reasonable that they should all be called up.
Here’s my wild stab at what we might see:
GKs: Alisson, Ederson, Neto
DEF: Fabinho, Militão, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Miranda, Pablo, Marcelo, Alex Sandro
MID: Casemiro, Allan, Arthur, Coutinho, Fred, *Mystery U-20 Player*
FW: Neymar, Firmino, Richarlison, Willian José, Douglas Costa, Willian