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Travels In Brazil

Brazil’s Tite glad for extra time to prepare World Cup opener


Doha (AFP) – Brazil coach Tite said he was happy to have been placed in Group G following Friday’s World Cup draw in Doha as it will give his team more time to prepare.

The World Cup kicks off on November 21 with hosts Qatar taking on Ecuador.

Brazil’s first match will be three days later against Serbia, before further fixtures against Switzerland and Cameroon.

“Whatever time you can have with the players, training, is an advantage,” said Tite.

It is usually considered better to start the tournament earlier rather than later as it gives teams more time between matches the further they progress into the competition.

While on paper five-time former winners Brazil appear clear favourites, Tite pointed out that their opponents had already qualified ahead of some football heavyweights.

“We’re talking about the elimination of Italy and Portugal at the hands of Switzerland and Serbia” respectively in the European group stage where only the pool winners qualified automatically, Tite told Brazilian channel SportTV from Doha.

Portugal did eventually manage to qualify for the World Cup after a play-off victory over North Macedonia, who shocked Italy in the previous round.

“And we also have Cameroon who are very strong in Africa,” added Tite.

“I watched the Switzerland match, they played right after us during the qualifiers. It was against Italy, they were up 1-0 from the start and almost made it 2-0 but ended up drawing.

“They’re world-class, a high level so we’ll also have to play at a high level.”

Brazil, who breezed through their qualifying campaign unbeaten and set a new record for points in the single South American group, played both Serbia and Switzerland in the last tournament in Russia.

They beat Serbia 2-0 but drew 1-1 with the Swiss.

Brazil have not played a European side since beating the Czech Republic 3-1 in a friendly in March 2019.

But Tite is not concerned.

“What I can assure you of is that eight months before the World Cup starts is a lot of time to arrive well prepared.”

Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic was in no doubt who is the team to beat.

“When people talk about football, the first word is Brazil. I respect a lot Brazil, it is always the favourite,” he said, adding “but I love to play against hard teams.”

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