Brazil boss Tite has named his squad for October qualifiers against Bolivia and Chile in October, with a host of Premier League names called. Brazil travel to La Paz to play Bolivia on 5th October, before finishing off their qualification campaign against Chile in São Paulo on 10th October.
The Seleção are already guaranteed top spot in CONMEBOL qualifying after picking up 28 points out of a possible 30 in the last 12 months. Tite has still elected to call big names such as Neymar and Gabriel Jesus, but it remains to be seen whether he will subject them to extreme conditions in La Paz.
Estadio Hernando Siles is situated 12,000 feet above sea level and is notoriously draining for teams not acclimatised to altitude. With qualification sealed and some squad spots up for grabs in Russia next year, Tite may opt to rotate his side for the first match.
The Brazil boss has made some surprise calls, opting to pick Grêmio’s young defensive midfielder Arthur, who has impressed in the Brasilierão Brasileiro Série B . Fred of Shakhtar Donetsk is also picked and there is a surprise recall for 32 year old Diego Tardelli.
The Shandong Luneng man was a favourite of previous coach Dunga’s, but Tite has resisted calling him until now. Tardelli is in the squad, most likely, because Grêmio’s sought after attacker Luan is injured and unlikely to be available by October.
Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson keeps his place, having earned his first call up under Tite last month. He will provide back up to first choice Alisson of Roma, Flamengo stopper Alex Muralha completes the goalkeeping trio.
There is also space for Monaco defender Jemerson and Flamengo midfielder Diego Ribas, who impressed in a friendly for victims of the Chapocoense plane crash back in January. Manchester City’s Danilo has always won his place back in the squad.
Tite might be tempted to test the likes of Jemerson, Diego, Fred and Arthur in La Paz as he looks to finalise the last 5 or 6 squad spots ahead of Russia 2018. The Seleção’s first XI is pretty settled at this point, as are 5 or 6 of the back-up players.
But there are 5 or 6 further squad spots up for grabs. Tite has these 2 remaining qualifiers, a pair of friendlies in November and March and a couple of preparatory games in May to help make up his mind on his final 23.
One of the big advantages of early qualification is an extended trial period and Tite will probably spare Neymar, Miranda, Dani Alves and Renato Augusto the gruelling trip to Bolivia.
Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma) http://flashlivescore-de.com/soccer/belarus, Ederson (Manchester City), Alex Muralha (Flamengo)
Full-backs: Dani Alves (Paris Saint Germain), Danilo (Manchester City), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)
Centre halves: Marquinhos (Paris Saint Germain), João Miranda (Inter Milan), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint Germain), Jemerson (Monaco).
Main Midfielders: Arthur (Grêmio), Paulinho (Barcelona), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Fernandinho (Manchester Town), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Diego Ribas (Flamengo).
Attackers: Willian (Chelsea), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Neymar (Paris Saint Germain), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester Town), Diego Tardelli (Shandong Luneng).