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Brazil as solid as ever - Tite's Selecao have an amazing defensive record

4:16 PM GMT 05/06/2018
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Since the coach's June 2016 arrival, he has seen his side concede just five goals and keep 15 clean sheets in 20 matches

A resurgent Brazil will arrive in Russia this month as one of the standout candidates to claim the World Cup.

And much of their revival under coach Tite has been down to their rock-solid defence – a staple of Brazilian football history despite the stereotypes that still persist around the Selecao.

Alisson, for example, now rated by most as among the world’s outstanding goalkeepers, has conceded just three goals in 16 games under the current coach.

He conceded twice against Colombia and once against Uruguay – all arriving as Brazil romped through South American World Cup qualifying to become the first team to join hosts Russia at the big show.

The central-defensive partnership of Miranda and Marquinhos played a huge role in Alisson’s personal success, as did Casemiro, who marshalled so well in front of the defence.

It appears Thiago Silva has now edged Marquinhos in the first-team, largely because he offers better distribution from the back. That Tite is ready select a central defender on his attacking attributes speaks volumes for how solid his team have become since his June 2016 appointment.

Time and again the spaces in behind Marcelo and Dani Alves at full-back were pinpointed as possible weak points, but rarely were they ever exposed. With Alves now set to miss the World Cup, Fanger or Danilo should offer greater defensive cover, and Marcelo showed on Sunday against Croatia that he is willing to curb his enthusiasm to keep things tight at the back.

Indeed, including January’s international versus Colombia that was restricted to only domestic-based players, Tite’s Brazil have now kept 15 clean sheets in 20 matches.

They have conceded just five goals overall and a rejuvenated attack no longer so reliant on Neymar has hit 44 goals. Gabriel Jesus is the top scorer under Tite with nine, followed by Neymar on eight, Paulinho on seven and Philippe Coutinho on five.

Brazil play their final World Cup warm-up on Sunday as the Brasil Global Tour arrives in Vienna to see the Selecao face Austria – and they will be just 90 minutes from arriving at the World Cup without having conceded a single goal in 2018.

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