Miranda, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and... Felipe? Porto man eyes World Cup role

Felipe Monteiro Porto
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The 28-year-old Porto stopper is one of a handful of hopefuls targeting the last slot for a centre-back in Tite's squad at Russia 2018

With the World Cup just months away, a whole host of Brazilian defenders are hopeful that they can complete coach Tite’s quartet for Russia.

With Miranda, Marquinhos and Thiago Silva seemingly guaranteed a place at the big show, one slot is still up for grabs.

And there has been no shortage of applicants. Tite’s former Corinthians stopper Gil had his opportunity but, despite impressing early on, struggled against Argentina in June’s Brasil Global Tour clash in Melbourne and seems to have fallen out of favour.

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Currently plying his trade in China, where the domestic season has drawn to an end, the 30-year-old faces an uphill battle to work his way back into the coach’s plans for the final set of friendlies in March.

Another to have previously occupied the role of reserve centre-back is Rodrigo Caio. The Sao Paulo man was an Olympic champion, starring at the heart of the defence in Rio alongside Marquinhos, but injuries and some inconsistent performances at club level have left him out in the cold.

Monaco’s Jemerson enjoyed a breakout season last term in Ligue 1, and was singled out for praise by Tite, who was particularly impressed with his performances in the UEFA Champions League

However, Monaco are struggling this term after a number of player sales and Jemerson failed to grab his opportunity to secure his role with the Selecao when he struggled against Japan in Lille last month.

Next up on the list appears, somewhat surprisingly, to be Porto’s Felipe, who was a Brazilian league champion under Tite at Corinthians.

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With so little time to work with their squads, international coaches understandably prefer those they know, and Tite has repeatedly offered opportunities to players he has worked with previously.

Felipe will now be desperate to impress in Portugal over the coming months after failing to make an impression on the observing Brazil coaching staff in a Champions League clash with Monaco last week.

The 28-year-old was sent off after just 38 minutes at the Dragao, receiving a straight red for petulantly slapping Rachid Ghezzal directly in front of the referee.

Brazil technical director Edu Gaspar, however, has already made it clear that the incident alone will not cost Felipe his World Cup dream. 

"Our technical observations are ours and ours alone, we do not allow ourselves to be influenced by news, whether positive or negative, that is not collected by our collaborators," he said.

However, the suspension will also cost Felipe his place in the first leg of the round of 16, a match the technical committee would take as a major opportunity to see what he can do at the elite level.

Time is running out, but Felipe remains hopeful that his Brazil debut will come just in time for Russia 2018.