The Brazilian team faces Argentina today (5), at 4 pm, at the Neo Química Arena, in a late match for the sixth round of the Qatar World Cup Qualifiers. Reissue of the Copa America final played two months ago, the match has a special weight for coach Tite, who in recent weeks has been dealing with some criticism about the level of performance of Brazil.
As for the results, there is little to be said: the team leads the qualifiers with 100% success in seven games — no team had ever done that. Within the universe of criticism, it is not the negative assessment of Brazil’s actions that causes discomfort to Tite. He thinks he’s natural within what he calls the “building phase” of the team. What gets annoying are the labels.
In some of the coach’s latest public demonstrations, the term “conservative” has appeared in journalists’ questions or reflections. The word refers to the assumptions that Tite moves little in the team, reduces opportunities to different names or is excessively cautious to make the team attack with more players and dominate the games.
Tite had two types of reaction to the label: first, he cited part of his football résumé, which also involves building flashy teams and some routs. Then he used good humor to make fun of the matter. It was in the post-victory press conference 1-0 over Chile. Along with his assistant Cleber Xavier, the coach was asked about Weverton’s performance and the quality of the team’s goalkeepers.
In response, he recalled a story from the past about a Portuguesa masseuse who suggested that the team play with two goalkeepers to stop losing. “We could play for the national team with any of the three goalkeepers, it’s a great crop,” he concluded. Cleber Xavier recalled Alisson and Ederson, who were banned from this call-up, and added: “You can play with five goalkeepers.” Then Tite turned to him jokingly:
Your retraveler! It’s not me [o retranqueiro], it’s him [Cleber].”
Cleber Xavier returned it, using the term that had already appeared the day before: “Retranqueiro, no. Conservative.” Tite had fun and once again mentioned his résumé, which shows that the subject is frequent in his reflections on football: “When he scored 7-0 with Inter in the first half of the game against Caxias, that was what (laughs)? Strategist, faceirinho .”
The game referred to by the coach was in the 2009 Gaucho Championship. Directed by Tite, Internacional thrashed Caxias 8-1 in the final of the second round, being 7-0 built in the first half, and was state champion for already having the first shift is billed.
The team was praised for its performance and the coach was given the label of “cheesy”, which in Rio Grande do Sul is what they say about offensive and daring teams. Former goalkeeper Lauro was part of that team and that game and remembers how it was:
It was Inter’s centenary year and our team was rocked after the South American title with Tite. The truth is, we made that game easy with a well-crafted go-up strategy. Tite established a concept similar to what we saw in European football, because in Brazil they played differently. I’m not defending it, but he and Cleber are football experts, up to date. In my view, he fits the players safely, they are teams that don’t concede goals and then they can be effective. This conservative label I think is confused with defending well.”
Lauro, to UOL Sport
Why does the label bother?
In its last five games, the Brazilian team has three wins by 1-0, a draw by 1-1 and a defeat also by 1-0. he’s more like a sweetheart than a conservative: in five years of work, 129 goals have been scored in 62 games, an average of two per game. The average grows in official matches (2.1) and only in the Eliminations (2.5).
Tite also disagrees with the critic’s point that he runs a “pot”, doesn’t give opportunity for new ones or does little to change the team. Even in the Globo de Chile x Brasil broadcast, narrator Galvão Bueno stated that it was not like the coach to mess with the team at halftime, and recent history says otherwise. Since five substitutions were allowed as a result of the pandemic, he has acted at half-time in eight of 14 games.
The coach’s burnout also condemns the assertion that they are always called up. Since the World Cup in Russia, 80 different players have been called up, 43 of them newcomers. The current list has five who were never called up for the selection and live their first chance. Although this happens in a context of 12 cuts, these are elements that show that the conservative label is fragile.
Tite hasn’t directly rebutted the speech and the idea is not to do it, no matter how uncomfortable he may be behind the scenes. He also sees no reason for any radical change in the national team’s game system, considering that the team that will compete in the 2022 World Cup is under development. in the Qualifiers hindered the pursuit of bigger goals in the Russian Cup. Now the plan is not to skip steps.
At the same time, the understanding that it’s a process doesn’t erase Tite’s dissatisfaction with midfield and the national team’s attack, which he calls the “creative process”. He has been doing tests and different combinations of players where the only rules are Casemiro protecting the defense and Neymar with full freedom of movement to create space inside, sometimes more back, sometimes as a center forward, sometimes on the left.
All the others are adaptable, but no one has been able to take hold and that’s a much bigger concern than labels.