Alexi Lalas and David Mosse on Brazil’s early World Cup roster | State of the Union Podcast

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Alexi Lalas and David Mosse discuss Brazil's World Cup roster on the State of the Union Podcast.

- We know that the World Cup is coming this summer. We want to talk about whether it's the players, the teams, the stories on and off the field to get prepared. We are knee deep in our research for what is going to be a glorious summer. And word out that the coach of Brazil, obviously a favorite, has already named his team in that he named 15 or so players that are going to be part of this team. Mosse, explain what's going on here.

- Let me give you the context. The last two cycles, Dunga and Scolari-- and you can even argue to a certain extent, ahead of the cycle before that, but it was really the last two with Dunga and Scolari-- they made the mistake of closing up shop too early. They overreacted to winning the Confederations Cup.

A year out, thought the team's done, OK, we're ready to go. Completely ignored the entire last season before the World Cup. Players losing form, new guys emerging. No, no, no, for better, for worse, this is the team. And Brazil disappointed. It was a mistake to do that.

And so the coach now, Tite, has gone out of his way to say that he's not going to make the same mistake. So ironically enough, the context here was him trying to make the point in an interview of how many spots are still open. He said, we're four months out. There's only about 15 or so locks. And there's still eight spots that are up for grabs.

And as far as the 15th he named-- now incidentally, he gave two different interviews. And one of them he mentioned Ederson and not Firmino. In another, he mentioned Firmino and not Ederson. So the Brazilian media has put that together and said, there's actually 16 locks.

And Firmino is the only name he mentioned that's even remotely interesting, that's like, oh wow, he's a lock, I wasn't sure about that. Because believe it or not, the fact that he didn't have much of a career in Brazil beforehand, and he hasn't been that great for the national team, and a lot of people in Brazil don't follow European football that intensely.

So he's actually something of a controversial selection, which is preposterous. He should be a no-brainer. He's been the second best Brazilian player in Europe this season behind Neymar. So it was nice to see Tite mention his name.

But the overall point here is that Tite is trying to send the message that he's not going to make the same mistake. He's still open minded. But he completely undermined that message by in that same interview, intimating what his starting 11 is going to be. He basically rattled of what the 11 are going to be. And it's an 11 that's played a lot, that's had success, so it doesn't surprise me that that's what he likes, but it's one I'm not sold on. There's been some other options that have been proposed. And with four months out, still friendlies to be played, a month of training before the tournament, I feel like he should still be a little bit more open minded about his starting 11. It doesn't sound good. So that really con--

- But you have to admit, that the names that he's thrown out there, whether it's Coutinho, Paulinho, Neymar, obviously, Gabriel Jesus, Casemiro, these types of players-- Danny Alves, Allisson on goal. These are locks. It's not a big surprise that he's naming these names. So my question to you is-- and it always is when it comes to Brazil-- in those other eight spots, whatever they end up being, is there someone that we're not talking about right now that is going to burst on the scene, or at least have some recognition, whether he plays a lot more or a little, that we're going to say, wow, we didn't know about this guy before? Because there always is, to a certain extent somebody, from Brazil that kind of explodes, and we say, wow, this is a player for the future.

- Well, OK so, here's the issue I have with the starting 11-- and my answer leads to what you just said. So he's got this guy, Renata Augusto starting in the midfield, who played well in qualifying when Brazil were ripping off all those victories to clinch a berth. But his form has really dropped. He plays his club football in China, so that might be why. So that's a spot that I think could be upgraded. And the two options that have been discussed are dropping Coutinho to one of the midfield three spots, and then plugging Willian into where Coutinho is playing right now, which is one of the front three. I'm very much in favor of that and taking Renato Augusto out.

And the other option would be replacing Renato Augusto with this young midfielder, Arthur, who Barcelona have been trying to buy. They tried to buy him this January, they couldn't, but they're still working on it. They're going to get him, I think, for down the road. He's

A 21-year-old who plays for Gremio, the team that just won the Libertadores. I am enamored with this kid. I think he's the second coming of Chava. He could be a transformative player for Brazil. So he better be on that playing to Russia, and I would even consider him starting. So that's the guy I have in my mind as a new player on this team, yes.

- He's the one to watch. All right. Good.

A question for you before we get off of this subject. Give me your percent chances that Brazil wins the World Cup this summer. As you mentioned, they cruised through qualifying. They might have a different mindset when it comes to how they're preparing in this year between Confederations Cup last summer and the World Cup now. Chances, 0 to 100.

- If he starts his line up, 0. If he starts my line up, 100%.