On Friday coach Selecao coach Tite will announce his penultimate squad ahead of Russia 2018 and there will be some nervous onlookers
Since his June 2016 appointment, Brazil coach Tite has called up 60 different players for international duty.
His squad, however, has rarely changed, and that number is inflated by the fact that he had to name a squad made up of solely of domestic-based players for a January friendly with Colombia.
In truth, few of those summoned thus far to defend the Selecao have enjoyed or endured a change in status as part of Tite’s Brazil. Almost a year-and-a-half on from his debut on the bench, Philippe Coutinho is the only player to have battled his way into Tite’s preferred starting XI.
A number of players have, however, been handed opportunities to impress, while others have been forgotten. Among the latter is Olympic gold medallist Gabriel Barbosa.
The former Santos striker made a promising to international football under former coach Dunga, but has struggled since arriving in Europe and now looks unlikely to earn a place at next year’s World Cup.
Gabigol, as he is affectionately called by Brazilian fans, had looked set for a big future under Tite. Indeed, he was favourite to lead the line in Tite’s August 2016 debut against Ecuador, but the role was surprisingly – at the time – handed to Gabriel Jesus.
A move to Italian giants Inter quickly turned into a nightmare for Gabigol, who barely saw any action before finding an escape route this season with loan move to Benfica in Portugal. Yet to break into the team in Lisbon, however, his hopes of making it to Russia seem all but lost. Such is his talent, however, it appears too soon to write him off.
Gabigol’s former club-mate Lucas Lima has also suffered, though his problems have been largely due to injury. The creative, playmaking midfielder became a bit of a favourite for the previous coach but physical problems at vital times have left him on the outside looking in after five call-ups from Tite.
Also called up on five occasions is Douglas Costa, who also suffered a series of unfortunate injuries – in his case, they ruled him out of two Copa America tournaments and the Olympic Games.
The flying winger was a bona fide first-team player under Dunga but is now hoping to get his career back on track with a loan move from Bayern Munich to Juventus.
Tite isn’t blessed with a huge number of options in wide attacking positions, and so Douglas Costa could yet force his way back into the squad should he find his form in Serie A, but he certainly finds his immediate international future looking nowhere near as promising as it did just over a year ago.
Meanwhile, defenders Jemerson of Monaco and Sao Paulo’s Rodigo Caio have both made multiple squads but seem to be fighting it out for the spot of fourth-choice central defender.
On Friday, coach Tite will announce his penultimate squad prior to Russia 2018, for November's Brasil Global Tour double-header versus Japan and England.