Brazil head coach Tite has announced the 26-man Brazil squad he will take to Qatar for the World Cup.
The most notable omissions from the team are Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Arsenal’s Gabriel Magalhães.
Veterans Dani Alves and Thiago Silva will board the flight.
While Silva still continues to perform at the top level despite nearing 40, the inclusion of Dani Alves has raised quite a few eyebrows.
The 39-year-old has not been playing much football lately. Perhaps, Tite felt his experience would prove valuable for the Canarihno.
It’s certain that Alves will not be Tite’s first choice at right-back.
Juventus star Danilo will be the primary RB for the five-time world champions.
Thiago Silva is only one year younger than Alves, but he should expect to start at the left-centre position.
The Chelsea man has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League. His experience and tenacity will be crucial for the Brazil backline. PSG star Marquinhos will accompany him at the heart of Brazil’s rearguard.
Éder Militão has been selected as a centre-back, but Tite could have used him as a contingency right-back and dropped Alves to address another position.
The centre-forward department could have used more options.
The forward line
Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison, and local boy Pedro are the candidates to lead the line for Brazil. Neymar is injury prone and also gets booked frequently.
Jesus has been excellent for Arsenal with his link-up qualities, but he has been far from clinical for the Gunners.
Richarlison has scored seven times in the last six matches for Brazil, but he is still nursing a calf injury. It’s not sure that he will be on the bench when Brazil takes on Serbia on November 24.
Pedro has been scoring goals for fun in the Brasileiro Série A and Copa Libertadores. But he is yet unproven at more competitive levels. So, having someone of Roberto Firmino’s calibre would have been assuring for Tite.
Gabriel Martinelli forced himself into Tite’s plans with his fantastic performances for Arsenal.
However, he will have to stay content with a bench role as Vinícius Jr will be ahead of the pecking order.
Man United’s new summer signing, Antony, is also available as one of the wide-forward options for Brazil.
Casemiro will be the anchor at midfield, but who plays alongside him?
Fred has struggled for consistency at Man United. But Tite might favour the duo because both play in the same club and have been developing chemistry. Lucas Paqueta would be an interesting pick, as he would make the formation more attacking.
Bruno Guimarães will also warrant a place in the starting XI because of his strong performances with Newcastle United.
Fred’s profile is the closest that fits that of a classic central midfielder who operates beside a holding mid. So, he might start eventually.
Brazil World Cup Squad 2022
Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras).
Gleison Bremer (Juventus), Danilo (Juventus), Dani Alves (Club Universidad Nacional), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Éder Militão (Real Madrid), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Alex Telles (Sevilla).
Casemiro (Manchester United), Fred (Manchester United), Fabinho (Liverpool), Bruno Guimarães (Newcastle United), Lucas Paquetá (Brazil), Éverton Ribeiro (Flamengo).
Raphinha (Barcelona), Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Richarlison (Tottenham), Vinícius Jr (Real Madrid), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Neymar Jr. (Paris Saint-Germain), Pedro (Flamengo), Antony (Manchester United).