September friendlies a huge chance for Vinicius Junior
When Brazil take on Peru and Colombia in the United States next week, it is unlikely that Neymar Junior will have played his first games since going off injured in Brazil’s pre Copa América friendly with Qatar in early June. Therefore, his level of match fitness must be in doubt (though the match sponsors may have something to say about his level of involvement).
Teenage winger Vinicius Junior was overlooked as a replacement for the PSG star in the Copa América squad, with Willian called instead. Vinicius also suffered an untimely injury, forcing him to pull out of the March friendly round. Tite decided that calling up a 19-year old with no international experience was too big a risk for a must-win Copa. Using an online platform like Betway, you can easily support the Brazilian National Team.
This time around, however, fortune may favour Vinicius, who is in the squad for the Peru and Colombia games. With Neymar short of fitness and Everton Cebolinha spared due to Grêmio’s participation in the Copa do Brasil semi-finals, a space has opened up for Vinicius to stake his claim.
Willian was injured during the Copa and, in any case, with the trophy safely tucked under Tite’s arm, the pressure is relieved and he can begin to look to the future ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The September friendlies offer Tite the perfect opportunity to road-test the Real Madrid youngster.
Earlier this year, Tite reserved huge praise for the youngster, saying, “opponents don’t want to face him.” With Gareth Bale no longer wanted at Madrid, he has an opportunity to impress at club level, even with the introduction of Eden Hazard at the Bernabeu. The situation is similar with Brazil, who have the likes of Everton, David Neres, Richarlison and Vinicius propping up the new generation.
Willian, Douglas Costa et al can probably consider their international careers over, while Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Paqeutá are preferred in more central roles by Tite. With Everton otherwise occupied and Neymar only half-fit, this international break represents an excellent opportunity for Vinicius.
Likewise, the Copa América gave Everton an enormous opportunity that he gobbled up, scoring three goals in the absence of Neymar. Competition is fierce in the wide areas for Brazil’s new generation. In the long-term, you would perhaps favour Vinicius to win this particular duel, but he must impress in the USA if he is to oust his competitiors sooner rather than later.