When Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, better known as 'Tite', was appointed as the new Brazil coach back on 20 June 2016, the five-time world champions were down in sixth place in South American qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. In other words, they were on course to miss out even on the intercontinental play-offs, so doom and gloom understandably reigned among the fans.
Fast-forward nine months and *A Verdeamarela *have become the first country, besides the hosts, to seal a berth at the next edition of the global extravaganza. When we consider that they have also captured the Olympic gold medal that had so agonisingly eluded them in the past, it is easy to see why the mood among the supporters has taken such an upturn.
However, what exactly has changed in the Tite era? We break down the keys to the success under the former Corinthians coach, a self-confessed admirer of Carlo Ancelotti and Brazil's 1982 side, whose charges have shone in their eight qualifiers under his stewardship:
· The team have flourished in his favoured 4-1-4-1 formation.
· He has fostered a collective ethos and reinforced the idea of shared leadership: six different players have worn the captain's armband across the past eight qualifiers (Neymar, Miranda, Fernandinho, Dani Alves, Filipe Luis and Renato Augusto).
· He has tightened up the team defensively, as evidenced by the fact that they have only conceded twice under him, once apiece in the 2-1 win over Colombia and the 4-1 rout of Uruguay.
· Youngster Marquinhos has come into his own in the heart of the defence, while Casemiro has similarly thrived in a holding role.
· He has inspired Paulinho to rediscover his best form after two years in international wilderness.
· Gabriel Jesus established himself as a key figure since being handed his senior Brazil debut by the 55-year-old.
Tite's philosophy in his own words: *
*"As I see it, the best way I can contribute is by applying the principles that have guided my life and career up to this point: transparency, democratisation, excellence and modernity."
"I'm of the school of thought that it is all about pass and move, give and go, playing in triangles, interplay and creativity in the final third. I don't mind my team being less physically strong in exchange for more mobility and nimble, swift transitions."**
Did you know?
Brazil have scored 24 goals in their last eight qualifiers. Three players have accounted for just over half of that tally: Neymar has found the net five times, while Jesus and Paulinho have each chipped in with four strikes.