Brazil coach Tite set for minor experiments as he finalises World Cup bid


Brazil coach Tite sprung a few surprises when he announced his latest squad at CBF headquarters in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

Local media expected few changes, and even fewer new faces to be included for the Selecao’s final two World Cup qualifiers

Though there are seemingly only reserve slots up for grabs in a squad that has marched to nine victories and one draw in the coach’s first 10 competitive fixtures, Tite and his coaching staff underlined their desire to continue to experiment by naming four players previously unnamed by the former Corinthians man.

Once again Tite held court in Rio, engaging coherently and patiently with the local media, taking time to explain his selections.

He stressed that while Flamengo playmaker Diego may not be in the best of form for his club, the 32-year-old has been recalled for his potential and his 14-year history with the national team.

With just nine months left before Russia 2018, Title went on to explain that he does believe he has the time required for international newcomers to become comfortable representing their country.

Carlos Eduardo Mansur of newspaper O Globo, however, believes the latest squad – which included four players never before called into a Tite squad – made it clear that places are still up for grabs.

“I found parts of this afternoon surprising and also enlightening,” he told Brasil Global Tour.

“All the changes made were in roles yet to be cemented in the final squad. But what really surprised me was the recall of Diego Tardelli, who has been away from the Selecao for a long time, as had Danilo and Fred. These names really surprised me, but now we know for certain that [Tite] is still looking for players in those positions.”

Perhaps another surprise was the absence of Santos goalkeeper Vanderlei, who had been expected to arrive in place of Cassio following a fine season.

Tite was asked about his omission and stated that he understands the criterion of what he needs from his players, admitting that while Vanderlei is in good form and remains on his radar, others are ahead of him.

This latest squad reminded Brazil fans that while Tite appears to have cemented his starting XI, he is still searching for game-changing options on the bench, particularly in attack.

Against Ecuador and Colombia, for example, first-choice right-sided attacker Philippe Coutinho operated in a central position and may now be taking up a slot previously occupied by reserve Giuliano.

Although it worked against Ecuador, however, Tite seems yet to be convinced that he will see the best of Coutinho in that role against stronger sides, and is keen to explore his attacking options

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