The Resurrection of Brazil Football, Heading Into The 2018 World Cup

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Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, more commonly known by fans of the Brazilian football team as Tite, has done an admirable job of turning around a once mighty squad from the colossal failures that they were just a short while ago.

When he took over as the team’s manager back in 2016, the club had already played one-third of its World Cup qualification matches, and the team found itself hanging out in sixth place. But under the lead of Tite, Brazil didn’t lose any of their next 12 matches (10 wins and two draws), while outscoring opponents by a whopping 30 goals to three. In other words, under Tite, the team hit the gas pedal, and is now speeding towards the status of being one of the favorites for the 2018 World Cup.

How was this possible? Outside of the fact that Brazil remains a football hotbed and home of some of the world’s best players, there are two key aspects that have allowed Tite to bring his native country back to the prominence we’re used to.

For one, Tite is a true “student of the game.” He studies the game relentlessly, allowing him to become a masterful tactician who can best utilize the talents that he has on hand. His 4-1-4-1 scheme, along with his strategies for bringing players with less experience up to speed, have helped the team dominate in the manner they have.

But for all the schemes the world, it means little if his men don’t want to play for him. On the contrary, Tite has been able to connect with his players in a way that balances being “a player’s coach” and “a true leader.” On one hand, he puts players in the best position to win, even if they’re not accustomed to playing that position. But between his persona, charisma, and ability to connect with players at an individual level, he has unquestionably won over the group.

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Tite’s squad now features a lineup of Neymar playing on the left, Casemiro ahead of the backline, and Gabriel Jesus in the center of the team’s attack. Renato Augusto is playing his best football under Tite, and the same can be said of full-backs Dani Alves and Marcelo.

But few players have taken to Tite’s leadership like Paulinho. Brazil’s star player continues to improve each game, ignoring the criticism that used to be hurled upon him, and feeling more comfortable in the spotlight that seems to be perpetually on him. He’ll enter the 2018 World Cup as  perhaps the team’s biggest “X-factor” for winning it all.

The Brazilians will come into the World Cup with a hunger to exact revenge on the rest of the nations who reveled in their downfall. The talent remains in place, and now there’s leadership to best manage all that firepower. More importantly, Tite is totally different than former manager Dunga, in that he’s able to disarm the relentless Brazilian press, who has the ability to exacerbate the pressure always faced by this team.

But make no mistake: as one of the favorites to win it all, the pressure is absolutely on Brazil this summer.

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