AOn Friday night, Tite named Manchester City’s number one goalkeeper, Real Madrid centre-back, Liverpool midfielder and Arsenal strikers, among others. But you can also put it this way: The coach of the national team of Brazil played with his B team.
On this third day of the World Cup – which can be interpreted as a weakness of the group system – several so-called B teams have already been set up. The French lost 0:1 against Tunisia (had no consequences for the round of 16). The Portuguese lost 1:2 against South Korea (had consequences for the round of 16 because Uruguay were eliminated as a result). The Brazilian lost 1-0 to Cameroon through a goal by Vincent Aboubakar, who headed in injury time (90+2) and was then sent a yellow card for taking off his jersey, against Cameroon (had no consequences because Cameroon was so bad because of the result in the parallel game or would have been eliminated).
Although one could almost ask with a little reverence: Is that supposed to be the B team?
But then you could see a difference. Antony’s dribbles were perhaps as spectacular as Vinicius Junior’s, but not as effective. Fabinho’s tackles were as determined as Casemiro’s, but not as strategic. After all, the goalkeeper Ederson was able to show that he is world class with his feet and hands. In added time in the first half, he sensationally repelled an attempt by Bryan Mbeumo. In the added time of the second half, he couldn’t do anything either.
It speaks to coach Tite’s confidence in the stability of his side that he replaced almost all players, including his goalkeeper, but it also speaks to his caution.
He probably didn’t want the next player in his first XI to get injured after Neymar, who was substituted in the first game against Serbia and has since been sidelined. That worked, which is why he – probably with the exception of Neymar – can start again with the best players in the round of 16 against South Korea (Monday, 8 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the World Cup and on MagentaTV).