Brazil profitable a Copa América at house can’t be stated to be a shock. They’ve hosted the match 5 instances and, after beating Peru 3-1 within the remaining on Sunday, they’ve gained it 5 instances. However to recommend this was some type of procession, a pacing out of the inevitable, can be deceptive, and would ignore why, 12 years after Brazil’s final success in a significant competitors, this felt so vital.
It’s not simply that this confirmed Brazil might deal with being favourites, that they didn’t choke on the expectation as they did so spectacularly within the World Cup 5 years in the past. It’s that they gained with a largely trendy, progressive model of play and, most significantly of all, that they did so with out the injured Neymar. This was a victory for Tite and all for which he stands.
Brazil’s defeat in opposition to Peru in Foxborough three years in the past, which eradicated them from the Copa América Centenario on the group stage, was the start of Brazil’s belated shift into modernity. Out went Dunga and in got here Tite, who had none of his predecessor’s insularity. He studied others, went to Europe to be taught, and adopted a type of urgent.
And but the sense on the World Cup was at all times that he was hampered by Neymar, a galactic ego who couldn’t be relied on to press and slowed the sport down. There have been moments in Russia, notably in opposition to Mexico within the final 16, when Brazil confirmed what they might be however the Neymar imbalance did for them in opposition to Belgium as Thomas Meunier’s unchecked sallies on the precise positioned an insupportable stress on Philippe Coutinho, who was in all probability being requested to carry out a task extra defensive than he was comfy in anyway.
With out Neymar on this match, Brazil turned absolutely Tite-ist. It took a bout of mumps for Richarlison and a misfiring efficiency from David Neres for him to occur on his entrance three however as soon as it got here collectively it knitted collectively fantastically, with Everton and Gabriel Jesus chopping in from the flanks and Roberto Firmino dropping deep from a central place. Towards Peru, Gabriel Jesus arrange the opener for Everton, whose run additionally led to the late penalty whereas the second, scored by Gabriel Jesus, got here from Firmino profitable the ball deep and a ahead surge from Arthur.
The Barcelona midfielder had a significant position shuttling between Casemiro in the back of midfield and Coutinho as a playmaker and was in all probability the type of participant Brazil actually missed on the World Cup – though earlier than criticising Paulinho, the person Arthur changed, too strongly it ought to in all probability be famous his position was made simpler by the best way Coutinho was allowed to play extra centrally as a result of he was not at all times masking for a vacant left flank.
Tite’s mastery was confirmed after Gabriel Jesus’s Seventieth-minute pink card. Briefly it appeared that Peru, who had been beginning to threaten anyway, may have the ability to mount telling stress however he acted decisively, taking off Firmino for Richarlison who held the ball up fantastically and, with Dani Alves pushing into midfield after Éder Militão got here on for Coutinho, the shift in momentum was checked.
On the World Cup, Tite usually appeared the calmest man within the Brazil camp and right here he was once more, decisive and rational. The outcome was a Brazil who appeared smarter and extra ruthless, much less hysterical and fewer jingoistic. Maybe not unrelated, the victory was not the propaganda triumph for the president, Jair Bolsonaro, which may have been anticipated.
Excessive ticket costs meant the gang was extensively assumed to be made up of the idle courses who make up the majority of his assist and there was a rising affiliation between the yellow nationwide group shirt and his far-right motion. However whenBolsonaro stepped on to the pitch for the trophy presentation, he was greeted with widespread booing.
Much more telling, when the squad paraded alongside the road of dignitaries to gather their medals, Marquinhos ignored him solely, Coutinho visibly squirmed in his presence and Tite skilfully fended off his try at a hug.
Brazil weren’t excellent, by any means. They struggled to interrupt down Venezuela and Paraguay. They had been maybe overly conservative in opposition to Argentina within the semi-final when refereeing choices went their means. However Brazil conceded just one purpose in six video games and seemed as coherent as a unit as they’ve for years – in all probability since even earlier than the 2007 Copa América after they had been wildly inconsistent.
Tite’s place, although, is much from sure. He’s pissed off that numerous members of his teaching workers, amongst them the previous Arsenal gamers Sylvinho and Edu, have been allowed to go away. Final week the Brazilian federation, the CBF, issued a press release insisting that had been he to go it might be of his personal volition. Had he turn into the primary supervisor to fail to win the Copa for Brazil on house soil, although, there would undoubtedly have been stress.
As it’s, Brazil go on to World Cup qualifying and yet one more Copa subsequent 12 months, in higher form than they’ve been in for a very long time. The most important query now could be what occurs when Neymar returns.