As expected, the defeat of the reserves to Cameroon created the apocalyptic atmosphere that Brazil knows well in World Cups. Every campaign that is not 100% successful is useless and everything is wrong.
Part of the hysteria is vilifying Tite for the “wrong” call-up. With 26 subscribers, it would be a mistake to call nine attackers and only four for defense and lateral. All because of injuries to Danilo, Alex Sandro and Alex Telles, the latter cut due to a serious injury to his knee.
So let’s imagine that the coach distributed the three more spots to a defender, a midfielder and just one striker. Rational, right? Because he would live with the same problem on the sides, being forced to improvise.
Bad will also forgets, or even ignores, that midfielder Fabinho has already played as a right-back and defender. Or that Casemiro, in an emergency, can perfectly compose the core of the defense.
Can Brazil still be six? Of course, as well as being eliminated by South Korea, considering the World Cup roadmap so far. It would be a historic underdog, no doubt. But not so absurd. Only for those who accept eliminations in Cups only for Italy, Germany, Argentina and, after so much beating, France.
And if we look at the last titles, 1994 and 2002, we will see that there were also unbalanced calls. Even for lists with only 23.
Carlos Alberto Parreira called up only three defensive midfielders for the World Cup in the United States: Mauro Silva, Dunga and Mazinho, who became a midfielder to replace Raí from the round of 16 onwards. Of course, Cafu, Jorginho and Leonardo could perfectly be improvised in the sector, but imagine the two typical midfielders injured and a midfield with Mazinho, Cafu, Leonardo and Zinho. It would be out of character, wouldn’t it?
In the defense, Ricardo Gomes was cut, Ronaldão was called in his place. Ricardo Rocha was also injured, but continued with the group. That is, Aldair and Márcio Santos were playing and only Ronaldão was on the bench. Risky, right?
In 2002, Felipão had already defined a system with three defenders in the qualifiers, even though Edmilson eventually stepped forward as a defensive midfielder if the opponent played with only one striker. The coach called up only four, with the “one hit wonder” Anderson Polga being an immediate reserve, a name that wasn’t exactly reliable.
Two injured players would be enough for the defense to be occupied by Anderson Polga and the improvisation of Gilberto Silva, who would have to leave the midfield that, with the cut of Emerson and the call-up of Ricardinho, would be left without another defensive midfielder. Kléberson would have to act more planted alongside Juninho Paulista.
The fact is that coach is not a fortune teller. There is no way to predict more than one embezzlement in any sector. Tite currently has five injury problems in a universe of 26 called up. Almost 20%. Three on the sides. Even if he had summoned five to the position, the impact would be enormous. I really lacked luck.
In 1990, Sebastião Lazaroni adopted the system with three defenders. As a precaution, he summoned five. And the generation was good: Ricardo Rocha, Aldair, Mauro Galvão, Mozer and Ricardo Gomes. As he lost the Cup, one of the criticisms within the collective hysteria that made Falcão take over and be forced to call up only athletes playing in the country in the first games was that Lazaroni “took too many defenders”. Could have included one more striker. He had taken five: Bebeto, Careca, Romário, Muller and Renato Gaúcho.
Never mind, it was all wrong. Because you lost. Just like no one will remember the risks that Parreira and Felipão took. Because they raised the cup. And if Tite is champion, many who criticize now later will praise and, perhaps, even say that “the selection grew in adversity”.
The final result is what guides the analysis. In the case of Brazil, defeat buries successes and victory covers up mistakes. Brazilian fans invented binarism even before the internet.