How Titemania restored pride to bruised Brazil

The coach has revolutionised the Selecao both on and off the field, and the results have followed to make the side a formidable opponent again

In a country where, at least in the domestic league, coaches are seen as the natural enemies of supporters, Tite has made himself a shining example. The Brazil coach is immensely popular with Selecao fans, perhaps even more so than the stars on the pitch, Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and the rest. 

Tite can even boast his own song from the stands, "Ole, ole ole ole, Tite, Tite," a sign of the esteem in which he is held by some of the most demanding fans in the world. 

The pro-Tite movement has become so adoring that his name has even been put up as the next president of Brazil; with the two prime candidates, incumbent Michel Temer and former head of state Lula da Silva resisted by a significant sector of society, only the coach provokes universal admiration. 

Tite Presidente I Web I 19 05 2017

This Titemania has not come out of nowhere. It is a reflection of the arduous work he has been carrying out over the last year, reviving the pride in a team that had disappointed for a whole decade. The break-up with the Selecao from the stands began in 2006 after the World Cup, with only certain star names winning approval - a Ronaldinho here, a Neymar there.

As a result Brazilian football suffered an acute identity crisis. A lost generation was condemned to play defensive, pragmatic football out of step with the nation's history of Joga Bonito. Early elimination in the 2010 World Cup and the 7-1 debacle on home turf four years later left fans furious and without hope for the future. 

Even after that capitulation to Germany, not much changed. With Dunga at the helm again, mean, safety-first football continued to be the norm for the Selecao, who now ran the risk of missing out on the 2018 World Cup altogether. Tite was brought in with a complicated mission, but he never hid from his responsibilities and his coherence won him support from the stands.

With his understated intelligence and easy charm, Tite managed to convince not only the players but the Brazilian people as a whole to trust in the Selecao again. The result of that unity has been invincibility on the pitch and, after nine straight wins, a guaranteed place at Russia 2018. .

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Along the way Tite's Brazil put on a show against Argentina that started to blow away the ghosts of the Mineirao, and a fantastic thrashing of Uruguay in the intimidating Estadio Centenario. 

Players used to shining with their clubs and falling apart on international duty were suddenly playing as a team again, strong and united towards a common goal. That revolution has brought pride back to the Selecao, and with that the hope that a sixth World Cup triumph could be just around the corner. 

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