On Thursday Brazil coach Tite will name his squad for June’s Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour double-header with Argentina and Australia in Melbourne.
Last week CBF technical coordinator Edu Gaspar revealed that Tite and his staff were still somewhat undecided on the group they will take to Australia, with the coach keen to utilise the friendlies to experiment while ensuring they don’t lose the momentum of their nine-game winning streak.
"We have these friendlies now in Australia and we are aiming for a different goal, maybe we could have extended our observations, but Tite has doubts about how to call, with most of the players are on vacation [now the season is over],” he said.
“There are also financial considerations, with partners involved in these matches. I need to have a meeting with the president so we can make a decision together, so we can each put forward our point of view: Technical, financial and strategic. Then we have to make a decision.”
The choice of who to call, however, will be solely down to the coach. And it is clear that June provides a great opportunity for players hoping to break into his otherwise settled squad.
Tite has used 36 players in his nine matches so far, including the squad he used for January’s friendly with Colombia which was restricted to domestic-based players. Just 24 have appeared in World Cup qualifiers.
Below, Brasil Gobal Tour takes a look at some of those hoping to break into the squad next month.
DAVID LUIZ (CHELSEA)
PlayStation footballer? Once a figure of fun among English football pundits, David Luiz returned to Chelsea from PSG this past summer and has been one of the best players in the Premier League. His imperious form at the heart of Antonio Conte’s defence has been key to the form that has led the Blues to the Premier League title. His resurgence could yet see him return to the squad for the first time since March 2016.
ALEX SANDRO (JUVENTUS)
One of the standout performers of a Juventus that are 90 minutes away from UEFA Champions League glory, the former Porto man has emerged a strong competitor to previously immovable Marcelo and Filipe Luis. He faces an uphill task to earn a regular place in the squad, however, with Tite asking his full-backs to venture forward more regularly than under his predecessor, Dunga, Alex Sandro will hope to battle Atletico Madrid’s defensive-minded Filipe Luis for the role of reserve left-back. At 26-years-old he will be in the prime years of his career come Russia 2018 and will this week will hope to hear his name called if Tite elects to look at some new faces.
First called into the squad under former coach Dunga, Fabinho was supposed to be pushing Dani Alves for a spot at right-back in Tite’s team. Instead, he will now provide competition for Casemiro and Fernandinho after Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim shifted him to the base of midfield. Fabinho has been a key component of the Ligue 1 leaders, who have been one of the most exciting teams on the continent.
Another full-back enjoying the best form of his career, it’s looking like last chance saloon for Sevilla right-back Mariano. The 30-year-old has flourished under coach Jorge Sampaoli and was called into the March squad for the qualifier versus Paraguay to replace the suspended Dani Alves. With Alves enjoying a wonderful season at Juventus, Mariano will be hoping to edge Corinthians right-back Fagner as second-choice.
ALEX TEIXEIRA & RICARDO GOULART (CHINA)
Alex Teixeira caused quite a storm when he rejected the chance of a move to the English Premier League in favour of the riches on offer in China, but his move to Asia certainly won’t rule him out of the Brazil squad. He has been in fine goalscoring form of late and will hope to add an alternative striking option to a coaching staff that have been paying close attention to the Chinese Super League. Likewise, Ricardo Goulart (a brief favourite under previous coach Dunga) will be hoping for a recall in the event Tite looks at shuffling his pack in midfield, which could also offer a return to Oscar who is also in the Far East.DIEGO ALVES
Tite has a decision to make with his goalkeeper. Roma’s Alisson started all eight qualifiers but his complete lack of game-time in Serie A is fast becoming a problem. Valencia’s Diego Alves has been one of Europe’s finest custodians for a number of years and, back after a terrible knee injury, he must be on the coaching staff’s radar as seek to settle on a No.1 for the long term.