Pressure on Tite at Copa America will cause Brazil issues in qualifying
Typically, South American teams use the Copa America as a kind of laboratory to test new players and systems ahead of CONMEBOL’s gruelling, three year World Cup qualifying process. Uruguay in particular are good at doing this, using the tournament to test the mettle of new generations. The Copa America will kickoff in June with Uruguay battling rivals Argentina and Brazil for the trophy. Football fans can visit betting site and wager on every game at this summer’s big Cop America and predict the team they believe will win the event.
Brazil manager Tite announced his Seleção squad last week and he, unsurprisingly, opted for experience, especially in the defensive areas of his team.
Thiago Silva (33), João Miranda (34), Dani Alves (36), Filipe Luis (33) and Fernandinho (34) have all been selected and are all likely to feature in Tite’s starting line-up. Further forward, there is more of a sprinkle of youth in Richarlison, Lucas Paquetá, David Neres, Arthur and Everton, as well as the established yet still youthful Gabriel Jesus.
In attacking positions, Brazil has a promising new generation led by the likes of Paquetá, Richarlison, Arthur and Neres. Moving on from the likes of Paulinho, Renato Augusto and Willian has been more straightforward. In defensive positions, the cupboard is a little barer for Tite in terms of up and coming talent. Marquinhos is already a staple of the Brazilian squad and Eder Militão will almost certainly join him as part of the core of the 2022 defence.
But the decision to go back to Dani Alves, Miranda, Fernandinho and Thiago Silva- who might not even be passed fit for the tournament, illustrates a two-fold issue for Tite. The lack of young defensive talent is one- most notably at right-back. The likes of Dedê and Rodrigo Caio were expected to form part of the new generation, but the progress of both has been enervated by injuries.
Perhaps Tite’s biggest issue, however, is the boom and bust cycle that Brazilian football has become hostage to. The average club tenure of a Brasileirão coach is three months. That explains why Tite remains pretty much the only Brazilian coach who can lay a claim to being top class. In this poisonous, impatient culture, coaches make safety first decisions and are not allowed to take risks and develop.
There is already talk that Tite’s job will come under scrutiny if Brazil does not win its first Copa América for 12 years. That it takes place on home soil multiplies the pressure on the coach to win now at the cost of developing the future. Tite is being forced to kick the can down the road when it comes to reshaping his defence.
Alves, Silva, Miranda, Luis and Fernandinho might well call time on their international careers before Qatar 2022 qualifying starts, so Tite will have to field green, untested defenders in the harsh environs of CONMEBOL qualifying. With FIFA’s decision to keep the 2022 tournament at 32 teams, rather than expanding to 48, the CONMEBOL qualifiers remain as competitive as ever.
When Tite took the job in September 2016, Brazil were 6th in the qualifying rankings- which would not even have been enough for a playoff spot. World Cup qualifiers are an unforgiving place for transition, but the pressure on Tite to win a tournament that is not very highly regarded, will likely cause the Seleção issues in its immediate future.