Neymar, Coutinho, Casemiro, and Marquinhos - the backbone of Brazil's future

Gabriel Jesus and Renato Augusto return to the starting line-up against Saudi Arabia while Ederson will have an opportunity to impress in goal


GOAL ANALYSIS - Raisa Simplicio & Rupert Fryer


On Friday, Brazil face Saudi Arabia in the first of a Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour double-header in the Middle East.

As usual, coach Tite confirmed his line-up the day before the match which will see him continue to tweak his side as he carries out a number of experiments ahead of next year’s Copa America on home soil.

In the first of a three-phase process ahead of World Cup 2022, Tite is introducing fresh faces in each squad as he looks to trial the next generation of Selecao stars and fine-tune his side ahead of a return to competitive action next year.

And while there are plenty of changes to the starting XI from last month’s Brasil Global Tour dates, it’s interesting to note that there now appear four players who will form the backbone of Brazil going forward.

Captain Neymar, midfielders Coutinho and Casemiro, and central defender Marquinhos are here to stay.

Goalkeeper Alisson looked the final player to have his place in the starting XI assured, but on Friday Manchester City’s Ederson will be handed only his second international cap as he hopes to convince Tite and goalkeeping coach Taffarel that he can be the Selecao’s no.1.

There were no less than eight debuts handed out in September as Neto, Felipe, Eder Militao, Andreas Pereira, Arthur, Lucas Paqueta, Richarlison and Everton all represented their country for the first time at senior level. 

Brazil XI GFX 09102018

Friday will bring just one debutant, as Bordeaux defender Pablo lines up alongside Marquinhos at the heart of the defence. 34-year-old Miranda replaced fellow veteran Thiago Silva in the squad this month and could return to the starting line-up against Argentina on Tuesday but neither appear long-term options, leaving the discovery of a regular partner for Marquinhos a priority.

To the right, Liverpool’s Fabinho will once again have a chance to impress after a fine performance against USA next month. Striker Gabriel Jesus, meanwhile, will also be keen to make a good impression after being left out of the squad completely last month.

Competing the for the role up front is Roberto Firmino who, despite making a relatively slow start to the season with Liverpool in England, looks to have edged ahead of Jesus in the pecking order. Firmino will start in the Superclaisco against Argentina and a strong showing could see him become first-choice for the first time.

But Richarlison will also want to be heard. The Everton forward capped his first international start last month with a brace against El Salvador and has looked excellent leading the line, despite operating wide on the left for his club.

After going into the World Cup as Brazil’s undisputed no.9, Jesus failed to find the net in Russia and will now have to work hard to regain his place.

A large crowd is expected in Riyadh for a clash that has been nicknamed locally as the SuperClassic, playing on the label of the great Brazil-Argentina fixture.

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