Without Neymar, Brazil tests its options against Venezuela

Not having star playmaker Neymar or midfielder Casemiro available for selection will allow Brazil manager Tite to experiment with his training in Thursday’s World Cup qualifiers in Venezuela.

Neymar is serving a suspension after receiving two yellow cards in Brazil’s game against Peru last month and Casemiro has a dental infection.

The Selecao starts will be Alisson, Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Guilheme Arana, Fabinho, Gerson, Everton Ribeiro, Lucas Paquete, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Barbosa.

A victory in Caracas will give Brazil 27 points from nine matches. The Brazil coach rarely publicly confirms his starting XI before matches, but he made an exception on Tuesday.

The selection suggests that Brazil’s lead in South American qualifiers makes Tite comfortable enough to try new players and lineups.

“Our campaign allows us to open up opportunities. It was not possible in the campaign for the 2018 World Cup, “Tite said at a press conference.

“We are trying to grow and have players with different characteristics. Gerson, for example, is different from Fred. It all depends on how you fit together.

Fred had a strong defensive partnership with Casemiro, but the team lacked flair and slipped between the lines of these two. Gerson, who is more of a box-to-box player, is expected to be tested in Brazil’s next three matches against Venezuela, Colombia and Uruguay.

“What matters is balance,” Tite said, adding that he wanted to test players capable of more than one function.

“With Arana on the left, for example, we will have two options; either it will be wide or it will build. If we want a fifth player up front, he gives us that option.

Arana’s recent predecessors haven’t inspired Brazilian fans. Renan Lodi made a crucial mistake in the goal that gave Argentina the Copa America title in July and Alex Sandro has been criticized for his lack of offensive DNA, a key characteristic for Seleçao fans.

Much of the focus will be on how Brazil performs without Neymar.

Tite used Paris Saint-Germain striker and Gabriel Jesus up front, with Paquete often playing as a winger who frequently changes positions with the two. Against Venezuela, the coach will start with Gabriel Barbosa, who has mostly played as a target man for his club, Flamengo.

This could mean more freedom for right-back Danilo and in particular left-back Arana, 24. It could also mean Paquete and Everton midfielder Ribeiro will move to the front more frequently in support.

Cesar Sampaio, one of Tite’s assistants, said another long-awaited trial will be held against Venezuela.

“We couldn’t use Fabinho in the (last) Copa America. And this is a position for which we have two great references, ”said Sampaio.

“(Casemiro and Fabinho) are world class players for their performances and for the clubs they play for. This time, Casemiro is not available.

Venezuela only scored four points in World Cup qualifying and will miss several players due to injuries and requests from their clubs not to travel to South America due to COVID-protocols. 19.