A solid second-half showing at the Luzhniki Satdium in Moscow on Saturday saw Brazil eventually canter to a 3-0 victory over World Cup hosts Russia on the Brasil Global Tour.
Barcelona stars Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho were on the scoresheet, with defender Miranda knocking home the other from close range in what coach Tite believes was a valuable exercise for his side ahead of June’s World Cup finals.
Below, Brasil Global Tour take a look at some of the major talking points from the Russian capital.
Paulinho has been become increasingly important to Brazil’s attacking play over the past 18 months. The Barcelona man has now netted seven goals under Tite, the same number of strikes as Neymar and only one less than the top-scorer under the current coach, Gabriel Jesus.
His uncanny ability to perfectly-time his late runs into the box was in display once again as he earned a penalty and headed a goal himself. His thrust from midfield has added an extra dimension to the side and has been vital in reducing the dependence on Neymar.
Chelsea midfielder Willian once again impressed in a Brazil shirt and, combined with his sensational club form, now appears to have a real chance of forcing his way back into Brazil’s starting XI.
The only player to lose his place under Tite, The 29-year-old could reclaim his role on the right as Tite looks increasingly as if he may be set to drop Renato Augusto from central midfield, freeing up the role for Coutinho to move inside and leave the right-wing for Willian.
Tite has repeatedly trialled Coutinho in a deeper midfield role and once again asked the Barcelona man to move central and create. This was the first time he had started a match in central midfield under Tite. In the first half, however, the Barcelona man found it tough going despite Douglas Costa pulling very wide to afford him more space.
Coutinho had a tall task on his hands with so many Russian defenders in front of him, but he improved as the Selecao found a way through in the second-half and stepped up to convert a penalty for yet another goal under Tite. For Coutinho to be effective in the role, he will need to operate in a more cohesive attacking approach than we saw in the first 45 minutes.
Brazil struggled to break down their dogged hosts in the first 45 minutes and even suffered a few scares shortly before half-time when Russia began to find some joy on the counter-attack, missing a glaring opportunity to take a first-half lead.
Brazil appeared a little disjointed in attack, but coach Tite later insisted this was quite by design: He’d tasked his attackers with constantly swapping positions in an attempt to unsettle a Russia side that was deploying the sort of deep block he expects from many of the Selecao’s opponents at the World Cup.
Brazil cruised to victory after the break, but next up for the Selecao is a first meeting with Germany since the 7-1 – a match that Tite says will offer the five-time world champions a chance to finally erase the demons of that fateful night in Belo Horizonte almost four years ago.
"We are in a building period and emotionally it will be important. Against Germany, we will want to play football, to be competitive, mentally strong, and put an idea in play. We are looking to impose our way of playing."