Brasil Global Tour breaks down what is Tite's final chance to explore his options prior to announcing his Copa America squad
On Thursday, Brazil coach Tite named his squad to face Panama and Czech Republic in March’s Brasil Global Tour double-header.
The Selecao meet the North American side in Porto on March 23 before facing their 1962 World Cup final opponents in Prague on March 26.
Below, Brasil Global Tour takes a closer look at the 25 players called up for what will be coach Tite's final matches prior to announcing the 23 that will go to the World Cup.
WHO MADE THE BRAZIL SQUAD?
Eight players from November’s squad were left out: Gabriel Brazao, Dede, Pablo, Walace, Paulinho, Rafinha Alcantara, Renato Augusto and Willian.
They were replaced by Weverton, Dani Alves, Eder Militao, Thiago Silva, Felipe Anderson, Lucas Paqueta, Everton and Vinicius Junior.
However, Real Madrid starlet Vinicius was forced to withdraw through injury and was replaced by Ajax starlet David Neres. FC Porto's Alex Telles came in for Filipe Luis.
Casemiro also returns after injury ruled him out of November’s Brasil Global Tour victories over Uruguay and Cameroon, but Marcelo isn''t as fortunate, with his replacement in November's squad, Alex Sandro, retaining his place at the expense of the Real Madrid full-back. Neymar and Douglas Costa miss out this month due to injury.
Dani Alves was yet another player to suffer a late injury and was replaced by Fagner of Corinthians.
Brazil squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Man City), Weverton (Palmeiras).
Full-backs: Fagner (Corinthians), Danilo (Man City), Alex Telles (FC Porto), Alex Sandro (Juventus).
Defenders: Eder Militao (Porto), Marquinhos (PSG), Miranda (Inter), Thiago Silva (PSG).
Midfielders: Allan (Napoli), Arthur (Barcelona), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fabinho (Liverpool), Felipe Anderson (West Ham), Lucas Paqueta (AC Milan), Coutinho (Barcelona).
Forwards: Everton (Gremio) Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Gabriel Jesus (Man City), Richarlison (Everton), David Neres (Ajax)
WHO ARE THE NEW ARRIVALS?
Felipe Anderson, David Neres and Alex Telles earn their first Brazil call-up under coach Tite.
Olympic hero Weverton has returned, ending - for now, at least - Tite's poslicy of including a young goalkeeper in each post-World Cup squad.
Dani Alves was back in the squad for the first time since suffering an injury ahead of World Cup 2018, following Tite’s unsuccessful attempts at finally a permanent replacement. However, a knee injury suffered for PSG against Marseille saw him replaced by Fagner.
Fabinho and Danilo appeared in competition for the role, but this month sees Fabinho selected by Tite as a central midfielder for the first time.
Another veteran, Thiago Silva, is also back, replacing Bordeaux’s Pablo to likely compete with Miranda for a role alongside Marquinhos at the heart of the defence.
Felipe Anderson is back to compete for a role in midfield following an impressive season with West Ham United in the English Premier League and AC Milan’s Lucas Paqueta also returns after fixture clashes during his time at Flamengo had previously kept him out of Tite’s plans.
Gremio forward Everton will have another chance to impress, too. And David Neres will be hoping to make his senior international debut.
WHERE IS NEYMAR?
The PSG forward is currently back in Brazil recovering from another foot injury suffered with his club. He is reportedly set to return to action for the French champions this month but has been left out of the Brazil squad to aide his recovery.
A statement on the club's official website said: "Neymar Jr will continue treatment in Brazil under the supervision of the Paris Saint-Germain medical department.
As part of the treatment of the injury of his fifth right metatarsal, Paris Saint-Germain has decided to send Neymar Jr to Brazil for 10 days.
"The Brazil international striker will leave this Thursday, accompanied by a medical team from the club, to continue specific treatment, scheduled after the medical care he has already received in Paris, as well as in Barcelona, since the end of January."
WHO HAS PLAYED MOST UNDER TITE?
Philippe Coutinho is now the most-capped player under Tite, appearing for the Selecao on 28 occasions since Tite’s debut in September 2016. The next two most-capped - Neymar (27) and Willian (26) - will be absent.
So too will two more in the top 10, with Paulinho (24) and Renato Augusto (22) both having been dropped this month.
MISSION COPA AMERICA
The Road to Copa America— Brasil Global Tour (@BGT_ENG) January 25, 2019
The journey begins March, 2019
On the Brasil Global Tour pic.twitter.com/nLFvVgyIb2
The rebuilding process is well underway and has got off to a fine start as the Brasil Global Tour offered Tite the chance to initiate a transitional period ahead of the Copa America.
With six wins since the World Cup, including victories over Argentina and Uruguay, Brazil have maintained their momentum and, more importantly, their defensive steel: Six consecutive clean sheets have been kept, while they are also averaging two goals per game. There is still work to do, but Brazil and Tite are on course.
Technical Co-ordinator Edu said spoke on Thursday about the progress Tite and his staff have made since the World Cup, highlighting that the Selecao have selected 40 players over three squads, including 17 first-time call-ups and 21 players who did not go to the World Cup, while they have handed out nine debuts.
WHAT DID TITE SAY?
On Vinicius Junior: “He’s at a very demanding club. I want to give him that growth, affirmation and evolution. Him participating, being in the dressing room, feeling the weight of the yellow jersey, is important.”
On Dani Alves: “He has been playing as a full-back, a winger… we talked to him and watched a game. I want him closer to see that evaluation. Most importantly, has a capacity for expression, brings soul and the right sort of behaviour, and has a very strong character.”
On Marcelo, Renato Augusto, Paulinho, Willian: “The Copa America is not closed [to them]. I have my preferences, but we debate the squad a lot. I do not rule out the youngest nor the most experienced.”
On Eder Militao: "He has played 25 games as a centre-back now, and have the task of preparing important players for the next World Cup. Militao has been included as a defender with an eye on the World Cup. I prefer him as a centre-back [rather than a right-back]."
WHO DO BRAZIL PLAY NEXT?
March’s Brasil Global Tour double-header is the final opportunity for coach Tite to experiment before what is being billed as a must-win competition for the hosts.
The five-time world champions face Panama at FC Porto’s Estadio do Dragao on March 23 before heading to Prague to face the Czech Republic three days later.