ANALYSIS - Raisa Simplicio & Rupert Fryer
With the World Cup now well and truly behind them, a new era has begun for Brazil.
Coach Tite and his staff have split the next four years into three phases, with the first running until the end of 2018 as the Selecao trial a number of new places.
Tite has repeatedly insisted that next year’s Copa America, which Brazil will host, will play a vital role in the team’s evolution ahead of Qatar 2018.
In October, the Selecao return to Brasil Global Tour action with clashes against Saudi Arabia and Argentina. And last week’s announcement of his latest squad threw up a number of questions – not least, just how many players are now guaranteed starters?
Who's in— Brasil Global Tour (@BGT_ENG) September 21, 2018
Read all about it https://t.co/U1343hlTsc
After two years of consistent selections, both in the first team and the squad overall, a number of vacancies have now opened up as Tite looks to refresh and rebuild following June’s quarter-final defeat to Belgium in Russia.
Goalkeeper Alisson, defender Marquinhos, midfielders Casemiro and Coutinho, and captain Neymar are all seemingly unmovable from Tite’s preferred starting XI. But elsewhere, everything is up for grabs.
And next month more young, fresh faces will join the squad to compete for a role in the short- and long-term future of the Selecao.
Marcelo, who was left out of last month’s squad completely now faces intense competition from Alex Sandro at left-back.
October will also see Fabinho and Danilo fight it out for the right-back role now vacated by the veteran Dani Alves, while at the heart of the defence it seems only Marquinhos is a starter after 34-years-olds Miranda and Thiago Silva have each made one of the two post-World Cup squads.
With Casemiro and Coutinho both settled, important parts of the three-man midfield, the third spot there is also being contested. Arthur and Fred appear to be the front-runners for that spot but the returning Renato Augusto could yet leap to the front of the line.
Douglas Costa looked to have made the right-wing position his own in September’s Brasil Global Tour victories over USA and El Salvador, but his recent indiscipline for club Juventus, coupled with yet another injury, has now reopened the doors to his competitors.
With Willian dropped from next month’s squad, who will occupy the right-wing next month is currently the hardest question to predict.
Meanwhile, up front, Gabriel Jesus was Brazil’s starting centre-forward for the previous two years but he too was dropped last month.
His hitherto reserve, Roberto Firmino, will hope to move ahead of the Man City forward in the pecking order but Richarlison’s star performance against El Salvador mean there is also now intense competition to lead the line.
Brazil meet Saudi Arabia at King Saud University in Riyadh on October 12 before meeting Argentina at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on October 16.