With just two months until the Brasil Global Tour resumes with a European double-header against Russia and Germany, Brazil coach Tite and his staff are working tirelessly to prepare for their next squad announcement.
Technical assistant Cleber Xavier and Fernando Lazaro, coordinator of the CBF's Research and Analysis Centre, headed to Turkey this past weekend where they closely observed three players: Giuliano, Souza and Fernandao.
The pair attended two training sessions and went to see the match between Fenerbahçe and Goztepe, where striker Fernandao found the net and contributed to the 2-1 home win. They also took the time to chat in person with the Fener trio.
Giuliano has been frequently called up by Tite to offer a midfield option that the head coach feels he is still lacking. After a fine spell at Zenit in Russia, he has already hit nine goals in just 23 appearances for the Turkish giants.
The former Internacional man, who played under Tite in Proto Alegre, has adapted instantly to his new surroundings and his excellent form leaves him odds-on to retain his place in what will be Tite’s final group before the World Cup squad.
Souza and Fernandao, however, remain long shots. Neither have been called up since Tite’s appointment. Souza has just three caps for his country and last made an international appearance in March 2015, while Fernandao is yet to represent the Selecao.
Defensive midfielder Souza, however, is in good form and hopes reported interest from La Liga and Premier League clubs will help put his name on Tite’s radar.
The 28-year-old, who came through the ranks at Vasco and had spells with Gremio, Porto and Sao Paulo, will hope to have made a strong impression on Tite’s waching staff, who will present their boss a report on what they saw.
Fernandao, meanwhile, has been a late-bloomer and may just be dreaming of a fairytale end to his playing days. The 30-year-old spent much of his career bouncing from one club to another before settling with Bursaspor in 2013 where he enjoyed two unprecedentedly prolific campaigns.
His goalscoring exploits earned a move to local giants Fener where he has since hit 37 goals in 80 appearances.
Brazil meet Russia in Moscow on March 23, before facing Germany in Berlin five days later for what will be the first meeting between the two sides since ‘the 7-1’.