After a painful loss versus Belgium at Russia’s world cup, Brazil was back on the pitch for two friendly matches in the United States. The home team and El Salvador were the opponents and couldn’t offer any trouble to the “seleção”, who won both games, 2-0 and 5-0 respectively. Despite the easy schedule, it was a positive start for Tite’s rebuilding.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a full rebuilding. The core of the team remains the same from the last WC, with Alisson, Casemiro, Coutinho and Neymar, now the full-time captain, being locks in every starting line-up when it matters. Firmino and Douglas Costa, who were at the WC in reserve roles, received their opportunities and took advantage of it and should continue being the first-team selections going forward. Thiago Silva and Filipe Luís also still are there, but with their age at next WC being a problem, it’s questionable for how much time they will keep their places in the team.
Since the Copa América is far from being a huge tournament like the Euro, for example, Brazil is always focusing on the World Cup. They obviously will try to win every match possible, Brazilian people don’t accept another result, but Tite will be focusing on continually building the squad for 2022. The core mentioned above has everything to still be at their best when the next WC comes. The defense will have a lot of new players receiving opportunities like we saw in those two games where Marquinhos, Fabinho, Alex Sandro and Militão saw a lot of time on the pitch. It’ll be the biggest challenge for Tite going forward.
The good news is the emergence of new quality options for the Brazilian boss. Barcelona’s Arthur showed a lot of promise and it’ll be really difficult to keep him off the starting eleven. The place vacated by Paulinho is open and Arthur is the best candidate to take it and never look back. Manchester United’s Fred is another option, but Arthur talent is clearly on another level.
Another pleasant surprise is the meteoric rise of Everton’s Richarlison. He’s being a major success at the Premier League and looked very comfortable with the yellow shirt. After Gabriel Jesus’ struggles last June, the door is wide open to a new number 9. Firmino has the edge but Richarlison took advantage of his opportunity.
Talent never will be a problem for the Brazilian squad. Few months after the World Cup, the team already has very solid new options for their future. Tite’s work is on the right track and it looks like sooner he will have his team even more strengthened than before. The future is bright for this team, they will not play the most beautiful soccer on a consistent basis but you can expect a team who will hardly concede any goals and win the vast majority of their games not giving the opponents many scoring opportunities, the famous “Tite-ball”.