In a series of interviews published by Brazilian sports outlet UOL Esporte over the course of a few days, Brazilian national team manager Tite spoke about the upcoming World Cup in Russia, where the Seleção will arrive with high hopes of redeeming themselves from the humiliation suffered on home ground back in 2014.
Already known for his openness in the media, even with regards to his team selections, Tite has taken that a step further, and has gone ahead and revealed his core squad for the summer tournament, some four months before its start. No pressure now!
“The [squad] list in open in one part, and closed on another. Closed on names with a consistent situation in their clubs and that, in the national team, are already confirmed, settled and playing well. [Those] are the eleven starters, Thiago Silva, Fernandinho, Willian, [Roberto] Firmino...”
-Tite; Source: UOL Esporte
In addition to the eleven starters, Tite named four more players, including Chelsea’s own Willian, who is one of the elder statesmen of the Brazil team these days. As with the Blues, Willian rarely misses a game for Brazil. In fact, since the 2014 World Cup, he’s missed just one and only one match, the special charity friendly against Colombia last year in honor of the Chapecoense tragedy. He was also an unused sub against Argentina a couple summers ago, but has taken part in every game otherwise.
Tite’s 15-man squad already announced is as follows.
GOALKEEPER: Alisson (Roma);
DEFENDERS: Daniel Alves (Paris Saint-Germain), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Miranda (Inter Milan), Marcelo (Real Madrid);
MIDFIELDERS: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Paulinho (Barcelona), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Fernandinho (Manchester City);
ATTACKERS: Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Willian (Chelsea), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).
With that, there are 15 spots left on the 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup, which will be cut down to 23 before the competition takes place. It may not be a squad as Chelsea-heavy as it once was, but should be a very strong group where Willian plays a key part, in similar manner to his current role at Stamford Bridge.
Good luck, Big Willi Style!