Brazil’s World Cup 2022 credentials are first put to the test on Thursday by many people’s dark horses Serbia.
The Selecao are the pre-tournament favourites in Qatar, and have a frighteningly talented squad full of attacking verve and spark.
David Goldblatt & Katie Rood join Shebahn Aherne to have football’s climate conversation about the World Cup in Qatar!
Tite’s 26-player squad features nine forwards who would start for many countries, so the veteran boss will have to find a way to balance his side and manage of the minutes of the many game changers at his disposal.
Here’s how Tite may set his side up for matchday one.
GK: Alisson Becker – Liverpool’s number one goalkeeper holds the edge over Manchester City’s Ederson at international level, and it’s difficult to see why that would change here.
RB: Danilo – A little underrated in some quarters, Danilo offers plenty going forward but certainly knows how to defend as well.
CB: Thiago Silva – There’s been a few signs of age and rust in Thiago Silva’s Premier League legs, but he remains key for Brazil because of his leadership and experience.
CB: Marquinhos – The junior partner in terms of age, Marquinhos is very much the senior centre-back in terms of ability. In the world class bracket.
LB: Alex Sandro – Club football hasn’t been so enjoyable for Alex Sandro over the past couple of years, but he’s still got the edge internationally over namesake Telles.
DM: Casemiro – Every great team has a great anchor patrolling in front of the defence – and in Casemiro, Brazil have one of the greats of the modern game. Fabinho isn’t a bad deputy, mind you.
CM: Fred – Expect plenty of running from the always frenetic Fred, and perhaps some quality along the way too.
CM: Lucas Paqueta – Paqueta is still settling into life in the Premier League with West Ham, but he’s very much at home in Brazil’s midfield. Playing as an 8 or 10, he usually flourishes in either role for the Selecao.
RW: Raphinha – By his own admission, Raphinha’s Barcelona career has got off to a slightly slow start. But there’s no denying how much quality is stored in his left boot, and Tite may give him the nod ahead of the likes of Antony, Rodrygo and Gabriel Jesus.
CF: Richarlison – So long as Richarlison is fit and able, he’s likely to win the coveted race to be Brazil’s number nine at a major tournament. Tenacious and a fierce competitor, his attitude is one of the things Tite likes the most.
LW: Neymar – Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Neymar has been one of the very best players in the world over the past decade. Carries a huge weight of expectation on his shoulders, yet he more often than not finds a way to deliver for his country.