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Opinion – The World Is a Ball: Without Daniel Alves and with Rodrygo, Tite will miss logic at the World Cup


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Brazil has two absences for the second match in the Qatar Cup, this Monday (28), against Switzerland. With an injury to his right ankle, Neymar, the main player of the national team, is out. Danilo, also injured in the ankle, but in the left one, ditto.

Logic indicates that Tite should climb on the right wing, in the vacancy opened by Danilo, the veteran Daniel Alves, 39, who is in the position.

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This being done, Daniel Alves will have the chance to silence all Brazilians, among dozens of journalists and thousands of fans, who condemned the coach for summoning him. Less because of his age, more because he didn’t play well for Pumas, from Mexico, in the months leading up to the World Cup.

I was not one of those journalists. With experience from two World Cups (South Africa-2010 and Brazil-2014), Daniel Alves, in shape, is still a great player, in addition to being a winner wherever he went.

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Great at hitting the ball (whether stationary or moving), he passes, shoots and crosses efficiently. He’s not very good in defense, but the Swiss don’t offer much danger on the left, as seen in the first game, 1-0 against the Cameroonians. Their best striker, Shaqiri, plays on the other side.

I write “logic indicates that Tite” will opt for Daniel Alves because, if the reserve full-back does not take the place of the holder when the holder is away, what was he summoned to do?

I highlight this point, which makes logic become illogical because the coach of the selection was studying to play there in the duel against the Swiss, improvised, Éder Militão.

The Real Madrid athlete is a defender. He has already played for some time on the side in clubs (São Paulo and Porto), and Tite tested him there in a friendly, against Ghana, just over two months ago. The option for Militão would strengthen the selection’s marking power, but would weaken the creation.

It is plausible that an improvised Militão be chosen based on the (i)logic of the coach in his debut match at the World Cup, against Serbia.

In it, Tite abandoned the formation that he had used with almost absolute frequency in midfield (48 times in 50 matches, since the fall against Belgium in the Russian Cup-2018), with two defensive midfielders, to choose an extra striker, Vinicius Junior .

A success, by the way, as Brazil did not miss Fred in the defense –since the Serbs, who had the ball less (41% of the time), often missed passes in the offensive sector– and Vinicius Junior was involved in both goals from Richarlison.

Returning to logic to talk about who should replace Neymar, it should be Fred, with Lucas Paquetá, who acted improvised as a second midfielder against Serbia, more advanced, in the role of the number 10.

But I’ve read and heard around that the replacement will be Rodrygo, another Real Madrid standout.

In fact, the best to fill Neymar’s shoes would be Roberto Firmino, who ended up out of Tite’s 26 for the Cup, or Philippe Coutinho – an injury eliminated his chances of being called up.

If the option for Rodrygo prevails, Paquetá remains improvised in midfield, Raphinha and Vini Jr. they make the wings, and Richarlison will have Rodrygo by his side up front, centered.

In practice, two strikers. It is not the most common formation in Tite’s national team, and the Richarlison-Rodryigo duo has a history of almost no interaction – the latter played only eight times for the main team, none of them as a starter.

Within Tite’s (i)logic, he should play Rodrygo. Can it work? He can. Just like the disposal of a steering wheel worked. Just like Militão can work on the right side.

And, working, to hell with logic. She becomes irrelevant.

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