SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Three years ago Brazil were hammered 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals of their home World Cup but after their latest win coach Tite said they were back to playing like Brazil again and almost ready for a crack at claiming a record sixth World Cup.
“I would like to give more players a chance but I can’t, there’s not enough time,” he said after his side, who easily topped the South American qualifying group, beat Chile 3-0.
The former Corinthians coach has transformed the team since taking over in June last year when Brazil were still suffering from a World Cup hangover, had just been knocked out of the Copa America and were sixth in the 10-team South American qualifiers.
Under his guidance, they have won 10 and drawn two of their qualifiers since then and finished the campaign a remarkable 10 points clear of second-placed Uruguay.
Brazil are producing great football again, with a solid back four, some steel in midfield and a deadly front line.
“The football this team are playing has made me happy,” Tite said. “It’s won back what I believe football is, linking effectiveness with beauty and winning games, and showing that these things aren’t conflictive.”
“I don’t have the capacity to see what will happen in the future. I don’t know where the limits lie but against every difficulty and every rival the team has shown itself.”
Brazil have a settled first 11 but there is competition for places in the 23-man squad for next year’s World Cup in Russia.
Tite said Marcelo, Filipe Luis and Alex Sandro are all in the frame for the two left-back spots. Gil, Jemerson and Rodrigo Caio are vying to back up regular defensive picks Marquinhos, Miranda and Thiago Silva. There is also debate over who will be third-choice goalkeeper behind Alisson and Ederson.
Douglas Costa, Diego Tardelli and Taison are all hoping to win a place in attack, while in midfield Tite must decide whether to take Gremio’s young midfielders Luan and Artur or opt for the experience of Giuliano, Lucas Lima or Diego.
As part of their World Cup build-up, Brazil face England at Wembley on Nov, 10 and Japan in Lille four days later. They will also take on Germany in Berlin on March 27 next year.
Editing by Ken Ferris