September 5, 2017 / 2:25 AM / 10 months ago

Tite to make four changes to Brazil side vs. Colombia

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil coach Tite will make four changes to his side that faces second-placed Colombia in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier, with Premier League players Fernandinho and Firmino among those starting.

Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - South America - Brazil Training - Barranquilla, Colombia - September 4, 2017 Brazil's head coach, Tite, and his player Roberto Firmino attend a training session ahead of their match against Colombia. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Manchester City’s Fernandinho will replace Casemiro in midfield, while Liverpool’s Firmino will take the place of Gabriel Jesus up front.

Thiago Silva, meanwhile, is expected to replace injured centre half Miranda, while Filipe Luis is favourite to come in at full back for the suspended Marcelo.

Willian will keep his place from the starting line up that beat Ecuador 2-0 last week, although Philippe Coutinho is likely to make an appearance, Tite said.

“The answer is strengthening of the side,” Tite told reporters ahead of the game in Barranquilla. “Maintaining positions and roles but with slight differences in characteristics.

“We are looking to consolidate the team, we don’t know what will happen in the future.”

Brazil have already qualified for the finals in Russia and have gone nine qualifying matches unbeaten since Tite replaced Dunga in June, 2016.

With his first-choice side and tactical style appearing set, he acknowledged he now has the opportunity to test other players and fine tune his team ahead of next year’s finals.

The top four sides in South America’s 10-team group qualify automatically for Russia, with the fifth-placed side meeting either New Zealand or the Solomon Islands in a play-off.

Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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