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How Brazil could line up against Ecuador

How Brazil could line up against Ecuador

Brazil boss Tite will have to cope without star forward Neymar for Thursday’s 2022 World Cup CONMEBOL qualifier against Ecuador.

The 30-year-old has been sidelined since November last year with an ankle injury, and although he will be unavailable for this international break, Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino suggested earlier this week that he is closing in on a return to training.

Two other notable attacking absentees from Tite’s 26-man squad are Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Everton’s Richarlison, with Gabriel Barbosa and Rodrygo called up as a result.

Barbosa is set to compete with Gabriel Jesus for the number nine role, while Rodrygo will face competition to start on the flanks from Real Madrid teammate Vinicius Junior, as well as Raphinha, Antony and Matheus Cunha.

In midfield, Casemiro is expected to return to the starting lineup, after missing the goalless draw with Argentina last time out due to suspension, and he could be joined by Lucas Paqueta and Fred, though Fabinho and Philippe Coutinho will both be hoping to force their way into the first XI.

Thirty-eight-year-old right-back Dani Alves has returned to the national team squad and he could be handed his first start since October 2019 ahead of Emerson Royal, while Alex Sandro will likely operate on the opposite side ahead of Alex Telles.

Arsenal centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes is the only uncapped player selected by Tite, but the 23-year-old is unlikely to start ahead of veteran Thiago Silva and Marquinhos, while Alisson Becker is set to get the nod ahead of Ederson once again between the sticks.

Brazil possible starting lineup: Alisson; Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Sandro; Pacueta, Casemiro, Fred; Raphinha, Jesus, Vinicius Jr

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