With just four of Tite’s regular starting XI having joined the squad this month, the goal of the week in Australia, which started with a 1-0 loss to Argentina on Friday, was to experiment with different systems and take a closer look at some of those on the periphery of the squad.
Goals from Thiago Silva, Taison and a double for striker Diego Souza made it 10 wins in 11 matches for Tite as Brazil boss.
Below, we look back at some of the main talking points from the MCG.
THIAGO SILVA: BACK FOR GOOD
There was a time not too long ago when it seemed Thiago Silva’s time with Brazil was up. Banished from the squad for over a year by previous coach Dunga, prior to this week he had not made a start for his country since June 2015. With Tite preferring his defensive line to play high, the PSG stopper has had to make do with a substitute’s roll over the last year.
He returned this week, however, as captain against Argentina and turned in another solid, assured performance on Tuesday. He still has some work to do to oust preferred centre-back pairing of Marquinhos and Miranda, but is now certainly back in the running for a starting berth at next year’s World Cup.
DAVID LUIZ: NEW BEGINNINGS
David Luiz was another to feel Dunga’s cold shoulder. He hadn’t made a single Brazil squad since March 2016, but was brought back this month following an impressive return to form with Chelsea. Last month, Tite told Brasil Global Tour that he was interested in experimenting with the “versatile” Luiz in a different position.
He returned to the starting line-up on Tuesday in a defensive midfield role, often dropping to form a back-three or to cover for Thiago Silva. He was booked on the night and conceded five fouls. It was not a standout performance, but his ability to halt counter-attacks and play the first pass out of defence could yet see him secure a long-term return to the squad.
DIEGO SOUZA: TWO STEPS FORWARD
An injury to Gabriel Jesus against Argentina left Sport’s Diego Souza as Tite’s only available orthodox centre-forward, and he took his chance with both hands at the MCG, scoring twice and moving himself up the pecking order to second-choice centre-forward.
The 31-year-old, who under Tite became the first player from Brazil’s under-represented North-East to be called up for a competitive Brazil fixture for 16 years, is now fighting it out with Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino for the role as backup No.9. Singled out by local media as the man of the match, his strength and presence provided a fixed focal point for the attack, with his impressive approach play also seeing him make two key passes.
PHILIPPE COUTINHO: IN TOO DEEP?
Philippe Coutinho has been one of the big winners of the Tite reign. For years he was left roaming the outskirts, unable to break into a team blessed with attacking talent. The Liverpool man is the only player to break into Tite’s preferred first XI since the coach’s June 2016 arrival, and on Tuesday had the chance to oust another as he replaced Renato Augusto in a deep midfield role.
Tite had been impressed by Coutinho’s Premier League performances in central midfield at the tail end of the season and was given the captain’s armband on Tuesday has moved into the heart of the action for the Selecao. He was a constant threat driving at the Aussies and made three key passes, but would likely prefer to be doing his work closer to the opposition goal.
Tite told Brasil Global Tour last month that he and his coaching staff were closely “observing 50-60 players” around the world as they seek to continue Brazil’s evolution prior to World Cup 2018. He made no less than eight changes to the team that met Argentina last week, with an entirely new spine formed of goalkeeper Diego Alves, defender Thiago Silva, holding midfielder David Luiz, central midfielder Coutinho and striker Diego Souza.
And the coach will have much to ponder after a number of impressive performances. Full-backs Alex Sandro and Rafinha largely impressed, as did substitute Taison, whose pace gave Brazil an extra dimension following his introduction. “It was the time for everyone to have their opportunities,” said Tite. “We had a performance and a result in this game. Against Argentina, we had only the performance and not the result.”