Brasil Global Tour looks back at the major talking points after coach Tite made it three wins in a row with a resounding victory on Thursday
New Brazil coach Tite continued his dream start to life with the Selecao on Thursday as his side hammered Bolivia 5-0 in a victory which has the five-time world champions back on track in South America’s gruelling qualifying process for Russia 2018.
It as the former Corinthians man’s third successive victory in the dugout and one that has catapulted his side to second in the table at the halfway point of the 18-match qualification process.
Neymar gave the hosts the perfect start by linking with Gabriel Jesus before rolling in his 49th goal for his country, moving him above the great Zico and up to fourth in the list of Brazil’s all-time top scorers.
Below, Brasil Global Tour look back at the five major talking points from a great night in Natal.
|GABRIEL JESUS ENDS HUNT FOR NO.9|
Brazil’s long wait for a no.9 appears to be over. In three matches for his country, the Palmeiras starlet has hit three goals, leaving him tied with Neymar as the top-scorer of Tite’s reign so far. After a stuttering start to life at the Olympics, some questioned whether the teenager possessed the mental strength to lead the line for his country, but he has answered those questions emphatically in his trio of senior international caps. On Thursday he demonstrated the cool head of a ruthless striker to convert a Neymar reverse pass, and showed an impressive awareness and willing to put the team first by rolling in Ney for a tap-in when one-on-one with the goalkeeper just ten minutes into the match.
|COUTINHO IS FINALLY A 'HOLDER', GIULIANO BRINGS BALANCE|
Forever the bridesmaid, Philippe Coutinho has finally walked down the aisle after securing a long-awaited starting role for his country. After two years of playing understudy to the likes of Neymar, Douglas Costa and Willian, the Premier League looks set to play a major part in Tite’s immediate plans. Last month the Liverpool man twice improved Tite’s side when replacing Willian, who had been left completely isolated by the team’s previously lop-sided setup. The introduction of Giuliano as a right-sided central midfielder solved the issue and he too impressed, and could well have won himself a regular place in the side after setting up Coutinho for Brazil’s second on the night.
Brazil weren’t interested when Pep Guardiola offered to lend a hand ahead of World Cup 2014, but they were thankful for his assistance on Thursday as a reborn Fernandinho shone with what was probably his best ever performance for his country. The midfielder stepped in to replace the injured Casemiro after making a fabulous start to the Premier League season as Pep’s pivote, and replicated his role for Tite, repeatedly dropping between the central defenders to help start the play. Often isolated under previous coach Dunga who showed little time for passing through the centre of the pitch, Fernandinho had no shortage of options on Thursday and completed a game-best 87 passes and 8 interceptions. Casemiro was arguably Tite’s best player in his first two matches, but he now faces a battle to retain his place in the side.
|TITE CONTINUES TO IMPRESS|
Despite having had little time to work with his players, Tite has not only managed to drastically alter the style of the team’s play but is putting together a side that is evolving with every match. Against Bolivia his side again showed signs of improvement. They pressed better, counter-attacked at greater speed and addressed their issue of ignoring the right side in attack as they switched flanks at will and found huge success from both sides. Tite’s has also installed the fluidity of movement to the attack which Dunga spent two years trying to establish. Moreover, Brazil’s fifth came from a training ground corner routine. Tite’s work is bearing fruit.
|INDISCIPLINE CONTINUES TO DOG NEYMAR|
Neymar, too, has drastically improved his performances under the new coach, proving that the individual can only shine when the collective is right. However, his indiscipline continues to be a problem. He received another needless yellow card against Bolivia as once again his frustrations at some heavy tackles boiled over. He will now miss the trip to Venezuela next week. It will be Brazil’s 10th match of the qualifying campaign and the fourth Neymar will miss through suspension. The Barcelona star was the only Brazil player to pick up a card on the night.