Football supporters had waited four days to watch Brazil’s first outing in this summer’s World Cup, the current side having been hyped beyond belief after looking much more like their old selves under boss Tite. The Selecao played their usual brand of silky football in the opening minutes as fans across the globe had their popcorn ready, waiting to be entertained.
Philippe Coutinho would not fail to amaze them with a wonderful free-kick to continue the trend already shown by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Aleksandar Kolarov in this competition, Brazil taking an expected lead on twenty minutes. Yet Switzerland would dig in, scoring a header that the opposition would argue should have been ruled out for a foul to even up the match just after half-time.
The Brazil Coach – who took a year’s sabbatical in 2014 in order to study the modern game – needed to change something in order to outfox the resolute Swiss, but his substitutions failed to make the necessary impact.
“I was expecting to get a victory so, of course, I’m not happy with the result,” admitted Tite to reporters at his post-match press conference. “At this stage of a World Cup you have to take advantage of a goal and see that your opponents are taking risks and you need to have faster transitions.”
While substitutes Renato Augusto, Fernandinho and Roberto Firmino are undeniably talented players – the latter in particular having a positive impact following his introduction in the 79th minute – it surely would’ve made more sense to introduce a player who could truly bring something different to the match, an new facet to the play that opposition defenders may fail to cope with.
Juventus winger Douglas Costa is a man who could have brought those “faster transitions” that the Coach spoke about after the game, as he proved so many times in Serie A last term. The former Bayern man can occupy space anywhere across the front three, his lightning fast and dynamic play a nightmare for those who try to defend him.
With four goals and no less than 12 assists from open play last term, Costa could’ve taken on his man to supply an endless line of chances to those quality players who were queuing up to finish them. At 34 years old, former Juve team-mate Stephan Lichtsteiner does not have the legs to successfully contain him and as revealed in this previous post, Costa was Max Allegri’s go-to player to come off the bench and successfully change the game on so many occasions last season.
That he led the league in successful take-ons during his maiden campaign in Italy in 2017/18 only serves to highlight just how useful Douglas Costa could have been to Brazil on Sunday evening. Just as Uruguay, Argentina and Germany will have to change something for their second round games, Tite could do worse than consider at least an appearance on the bench for the lightning-quick Juventus winger versus Costa Rica on Friday.
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