When Brazil spring to mind, you don’t normally associate defensive stability and clean sheets with the Selecao.
Brazil’s flair and free-flowing football have made them the most feared and entertaining nation in world football.
But Tite’s Selecao are built differently.
Playing with 10 men from the 48th minute, defending champions Brazil overcame their numerical disadvantage and Chile 1-0 in the Copa America quarter-finals on Friday.
Lucas Paqueta came off the bench at half-time and settled the contest a minute into the second half in Rio de Janeiro, where Gabriel Jesus saw red for a shocking high boot to the face of Chile’s Eugenio Mena.
There was a Chile onslaught as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser and while Ben Brereton hit the crossbar, Brazil stood firm to extend their unbeaten streak while setting up a showdown with 2019 runners-up Peru.
In a run dating back to November 2019, Brazil have gone 12 matches without a defeat, including nine clean sheets in the process.
“It’s a football game, you can’t have a smile all the time. Anyone who played knows, you even discuss with friends, discuss plays,” said Neymar, who has attempted the second-most dribbles (21) behind Lionel Messi (22) this tournament, while he has been fouled the most (21).
“Chile are a great team, it was a great test, but the important thing is that we got the victory and advanced to the semi-finals.”
Brazil have now won their last five games against two-time champions Chile at the Copa, scoring 12 goals and only conceding once.
Since his appointment in 2016, Brazil have kept 41 clean sheets in 59 games under head coach Tite across all competitions (69.5 per cent).
It further highlights the defensive strength of the Selecao with Tite at the helm.
Against Chile, Casemiro made a game-high four tackles in midfield, defender Marquinhos tallied four clearances, and Richarlison intercepted the ball on five occasions while the star forward gained possession eight times along with full-back Renan Lodi.
When it comes to Tite and Brazil, it is a team effort. Attacking and defending together across the pitch.
As Brazil eye a 10th Copa title, Tite’s side have style and substance.
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