Brazil now play like an European side with Brazilian talent and the man behind this change is their coach Tite, who above all emphasises balance.
The most fascinating aspect of Brazil under Tite is the number of goals they have conceded. In Russia, they have scored seven times and conceded just once. Before the World Cup, Brazil had played 25 matches with Tite and conceded six with just a single defeat. Defensive solidity is at the heart of this Brazil outfit.
To get an idea of how Brazil defence has played one has to look at the number of shots their goalkeeper Alisson has faced. Four shots faced in four matches so far.
Tite has won numerous titles in the Brazilian domestic circuit and in 2012, he led Corinthians to maiden Copa Liberatodores (South America’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League) and FIFA Club World Cup. In all his wins, the common denominator was defensive stability.
Tite had been sure that he will be appointed coach after Brazil 7-1 drubbing by Germany in 2014 World Cup but the Selecao instead opted for Dunga. Tite used the time to travel and study football around the world, meeting the likes of Carlo Ancelotti who was Real Madrid manager at the time. There he took the opportunity to study how Ancelotti used players of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Isco.
Then Tite met his rival Mr. Bianchi at Boca Juniors and discussed various footballing aspects. Tite’s attitude towards learning made him understand with better conviction the aspects of the beautiful game and the Brazilian way of doing things.
After a disastrous start to the World Cup qualifying campaign, Dunga was sacked and Tite was appointed by the Selecao. In a magical touch, Tite turned a gang of great players who underperformed for Dunga into a victorious team. Brazil have a plethora of stars who play for top European sides and he brought them all together for a common cause – playing for the team. This is why Neymar and Philippe Coutinho can now organically switch places and roles and connect with Gabriel Jesus. The trick was to have them play the same way they played for their clubs and it worked.
Brazil are now playing good football like Tite wanted them to but not at the expense of defensive solidity. With depth in most positions and star players who can change matches, Tite has indeed managed to make Brazil a real threat to be reckoned with and he did it his way.