There are two ways to build a national team. You either call up the best players from the country and try to make them work together, or you set a game plan and call up those who will fit.
Tite is well known for belonging to this second group, so there wasn’t big expectations for surprises in the Brazil World Cup squad.
It was obvious that the manager would call up the players he trusts, who he’s been working with for longer, with little room for chancers.
But we’ve seen that some people were surprised when the list came out. Not so much in Brazil, but mostly readers who primary follow European football. In the squad list, two missing names seemed to bother a lot: Alex Sandro and Fabinho.
So let’s try to explain why their absence isn’t a shock in Brazil starting with the left-back.
Alex Sandro has only had three chances to play under Tite, starting two of these games. He couldn’t really stand out in any of them.
Plus there’s also the fact that Marcelo, who’s undoubtedly the number one for the position, is clearly an attacking player, who occasionally has some problems defending. Alex Sandro has the same characteristics, sometimes even used as a wing-back or a winger, depending on Juventus’ tactics.
Filipe Luís is the opposite, being well used by Diego Simeone as a defending asset, giving Tite the possibility of a tactical change if needed. He’s had five appearances under the manager for Brazil, having missed several months due to an injury, which would certainly have given him more game time with the manager.
That isn’t a choice I’d personally make, as I think Alex Sandro has much more potential overall than Filipe Luís, but still, it’s understandable for such a short tournament.
Brazil World Cup Squad:
Alisson, Cássio, Ederson; Danilo, Geromel, Filipe Luís, Marcelo, Marquinhos, Miranda, Fagner, Thiago Silva; Casemiro, Fernandinho, Fred, Paulinho, Philippe Coutinho, Renato Augusto, Willian; Douglas Costa, Firmino, Jesus, Neymar, Taison
— Lucas Sposito (@LucasSposito_) May 14, 2018
Regarding Fabinho, this was never a doubt, as he hasn’t even made it to the list of reserves. He has never been called up by Tite.
When Dani Alves got injured, people even suggested that Fabinho should be brought into the team. But with him playing as a midfielder for two seasons in France now, Tite would hardly risk it giving him another role just before a World Cup. No chance.
As a defensive midfielder, could he really get a spot over Casemiro, who’s winning title after title at Real Madrid, or over Fernandinho, who’s just had a fantastic season under Pep Guardiola? Not really. This is a decision we can’t really argue with.
In Brazil, some names such as Cássio, Fagner, Renato Augusto, Fred, and Taison are being questioned a little bit. Cássio isn’t the best goalkeeper in the country, Renato Augusto isn’t being challenged in Chinese football and Taison has never really reached the level that was expected of him.
But although there’s controversy around them, they also can be explained. They either worked under Tite at Corinthians, and therefore gained his trust, or are having good seasons in Europe, which is the case of the two Shakhtar players. Let’s not lie and say we watch most of their games.
Brazil is behind Tite. Fans and press. The fact that the media has his back is not good, because he’s not a god, and these decisions must all be questioned. But it’s also important that people understand he has his own line of work, and for now, he’s shown no incoherence.
Between 2011 and 2015, he won two Brazilian leagues, a Copa Libertadores and a Club World Cup (valued much more highly in South America) without major stars in the team. Chelsea fans probably didn’t know many Corinthians players when they lost that final in 2012, and the hope is that the collective football can work on his side once again.
What makes some of @CBF_Futebol‘s biggest stars great? Tite shares.
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) 14 de mayo de 2018