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
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