OPINION - Raisa Simplicio
Following World Cup 2018, Brazil have embarked on a process of renovation.
Having split the next four years into three distinct phases, this year’s Brasil Global Tour dates in September, October and November formed the first phase in which a number of new players would be trialled ahead of next year’s Copa America.
Three games in to this six-game period, a host of debuts have been handed out, with no less than nine new faces having been given their international bows (Neto, Felipe, Eder Militao, Andreas Pereira, Arthur, Lucas Paqueta, Richarlison, Everton and Pablo).
And after relatively routine victories over USA, El Salvador and Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday Tite and his team face their first big test since Russia as they meet Argentina in the Brasil Global Tour Superclasico de las Americas.
Tite was keen to point out on Friday that this would be “no friendly”. In Washington last month prior to their 5-0 win over El Salvador, Tite let it slip that he would be fielding his strongest possible team.
The coach invariably presents his first XI to the media during a training session two days before the match, before officially confirming his line-up on the eve of the contest.
That he took the decision not to display his first XI during Sunday’s training session in Jeddah is another example of the seriousness with which he is preparing for Argentina on Tueday.
The core of the team, however, appears to be set. In all three matches since the World Cup, Brazil have lined up with the spine of the team that will lead them to Qatar, with Marquinhos, Casemiro, Coutinho and Neymar all ever-presents.
Alisson, too, appears one only five guaranteed first-team players right now – though the Liverpool goalkeeper made way against Saudi Arabia in order to give Ederson just his second cap.
On Sunday, veteran defender Miranda and right-back Danilo were selected to speak to the media in the day’s official press conference, leaving them strong candidates to start.
In addition, Roberto Firmino and Filipe Luis are also tipped to make the XI.
Tite has tasted defeat just twice as Brazil coach. One arrived at the hands of Belgium during the World Cup; his only other loss came one year ago on the Brasil Global Tour of June 2017 - against Argentina.
The “hermanos” are missing Lionel Messi and have a temporary coach in charge as they look to initiate an almost complete overhaul of their aging World Cup squad.
Brazil meet Argentina at King Abdullah Sports City in Jedah on Tuesday.