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The Chelsea man faces a fierce battle with Coutinho for game time in the Selecao, but did his chances no harm against Ecuador and Colombia

Willian started the World Cup qualifiers as the most consistent starter in Brazil's under-achieving line-up, but then saw his place come under threat as Tite whipped the Selecao into shape. As the games wore on the Chelsea man lost his spot in the starting XI to Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool's star proving on top of his game while Willian struggled to rediscover his best form.


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Coherent as ever in his decisions, Tite picked those at their best, leaving the winger marginalised. But he never lost faith in himself, and continues to be a valuable member of the Brazil start even if he is not guaranteed a place amongst the starting XI.

That commitment was rewarded on Tuesday with a stunning goal against Colombia, the icing on the cake in a performance that keeps Willian in the fight for places ahead of next year's World Cup.

Coutinho Willian Brazil Ecuador Eliminatorias 2018 31082017

In June's friendlies against Argentina and Australia, which allowed Brazil to experiment away from official competition, Willian impressed with his performances. And with Coutinho distracted by the constant speculation over his future and without game-time at Liverpool, he was given the chance to shine against Ecuador and Colombia in these most recent qualifiers.

In the first game in Porto Alegre Willian gave another good account of himself, although the encounter changed on its head when Coutinho entered off the bench, creating a potent attacking duo in the middle. The Chelsea man set up Paulinho for the first goal of the night with a teasing corner before Coutinho weighed in with his own strike to seal a 2-0 win.

Willian Neymar Brazil

Against Colombia Willian retained his place, and he made the most of his start once more. This time he opened the scoring with a spectacular shot, while Coutinho's entrance in the second half, again in the place of Renato Augusto, failed to have the same impact as in Porto Alegre.

Tite's recent system has Coutinho in a slighly more withdrawn role, creating play from deep and feeding those further forward. And while in the coach's head he remains the main man on the right, Willian's displays will have given him food for thought and a welcome selection dilemma that will surely be worked on further in the months leading up to Russia 2018.