This will be a new segment connected to the World Cup 2018, where we shall discuss and try to analyse some of the big teams going to participate in the battle for supremacy in Russia. Today we shall discuss the Selecao, who were struggling under Dunga, but with now Tite at helm,have completely made a turnaround and are one of the favourites for the upcoming World Cup. Tite is loved and respected dearly in Brazil and considered one of the most progressive Latin American Managers presently active. When he took the reigns of Brazil,he made some strange and unpopular choices,but as time went on, he was proven right simply by the blistering football his side played and the results they obtained.Let us take a peek at his general team selection and tactics.
Tite generally employs a skewered 4-2-3-1 which resembles the lopsided latin american 4-4-2 diamond. At goal, there is the highly rated Alisson Becker from Roma, who has pushed Ederson from Manchester City on the bench. The 6’4″ keeper has been in great form and naturally many big European clubs are behind him to snitch him up from Roma.
Tite has deployed few centre back pairings and three of them have been used the most, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Miranda. So any two among them will be the main CB pairing. Thiago Silva and Marquinhos is the CB pairing at PSG too, however Miranda is also in good form and can’t be overlooked. Thiago Silva is skillful and experienced, Marquinhos is strong and fast, Miranda is also strong and experienced.Safe to conclude that the CB department for Brazil is fixed and sorted.
The full backs play an important role in Tite’s system. Both Marcelo and Dani Alves are wonderful dribblers and superb crossers, not to mention Dani Alves is dangerous from set pieces as well as from long range too. They both play attacking roles but in a slight different way. Dani Alves generally pings up and takes part in combination play with the RCM, the AM and even the ST. There have been instances where Alves and the ST(either Jesus or Firmino) ventured into combination play with the right winger (generally Willian) joining in. They move in triangular pattern and shift the opposition defence to the right hand side. This creates an avenue or opening in middle for the CAM (Neymar) to drop in and capitalise. In case the opposition team uses man marking along with zonal marking to give special attention to Neymar, the left attacker/winger (Countinho or Costa) move into the hole with Neymar either dropping down or joining the right sided combination play thus dragging his marker with him.
During the combination play on right, what if either Alves or Willian looses the ball? Neymar is given a free role and won’t venture down the right side, Alves and Willain are high up on right side in combination play and the ST is occupying the central zone to create overloads. In that case the opposition might spring up a counter and can get at a position of 2 vs 2 or even 3 vs 2 against the two CBs. Here in the two pivots for Brazil steps in. Whenever the RB and the RW is pushing up, Paulinho and Renato Augusto start shifting in the vacant space guarding the centre and right flank to shield opposition counters. Marcelo on the other hand moves into midfield to help Renato guard the centre and to shift left again in case of switch of play. These are all choreographed moves practised in the training and loved by Tite. There are several varieties of combination and positional play deployed by Brazil at the right side,left side and centre.
Marcelo has a slightly different role to Alves. Marcelo is as good a dribbler as Alves, but perhaps lacks in the shooting aspect. He is also younger than Alves and has more stamina. Hence Marcelo has the entire left flank for his trickery, since Neymar ventures into centre from left. Marcelo goes wide to provide crosses,dribbles around the opposition CB and FB to cut in to either pass or shoot and has more defensive duties than Alves. He moves into midfield to help Renato, drops down to mark opposition attacker and initiates attack from defence too. Felipe Luiz is another great LB present for Brazil but he is more defensive minded than Marcelo and Marcelo is the undisputed first choice LB.
In the centre of the pitch, Tite made the most controversial decisions. Both Renato and Paulinho were playing in China, when Tite brought them and formed their partnership at the heart of Brazil midfield. With so many flair players in front, Tite knew that Brazil needed the stability to provide these flair players with launching pad. Renato Augusto is perhaps the most limited player in the team , but he is one of the most integral part. He is a no nonsense midfielder, he breaks up plays, keeps possession, and plays side ways passes to quickly relieve the pressure. Paulinho is the powerhouse stationed next. Both him and Renato are technically limited, but they complement each other as well as the front four. Paulinho is strong, athletic, fast and runs up and down continuously to link plays. His first touch is sluggish, his possession play is sloppy, but he is strong aerially and he has the knack of bursting into box to score goals. He hounds the opposition playmaker, provides passing option to Renato as well as Alves and Willian, drops back to defend and sprints up to attack and is one of the most hardworking and mobile players of the team. It is a testament to their success in this setup, that they are keeping the likes of Casemiro and Fernandinho out on the bench.
The front four, generally Coutinho-Neymar-Jesus-Willian, are free flowing,tricky,technically brilliant and highly effective, with Neymar as the fulcrum of the attack with a free role.
Tite has found a winning fomula in his set up. Though he occassionaly experiments with his 4-3-3 and more traditional Brazilian 4-4-2,his first choice team is more and less the same,and they are roaring and charged to win it all in Russia.