Five-time World Champions Brazil are expected to face their toughest test yet in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia when they meet Belgium in their quarter-final clash on Friday night.
Tite’s wards are unbeaten in the 2018 tournament and have overcome an opening draw against Switzerland to beat all opponents so far, their latest victims being bogey side Mexico. The Seleçao will however face an enterprising Belgian side which have won all their four matches in a game billed for the Kazan Arena on Friday.
Tite spoke to the press on Thursday afternoon shortly before his team’s final training session and believes now is the time for his team’s mental strength to carry them through.
“If you ask me what is the greatest challenge of the World Cup, I will say it is the mental situation. There is a lot of psychological pressure from the fans and the press but I’m happy my team has built their strength in this aspect and we have it entrenched in all the players in the squad,” said the 57-year old.
“I spoke with a lot of colleagues on this job and Carlos Bianchi (Argentine) told me that one of the greatest advantage of a team is to have a team with mental balance – neither a sense of euphoria nor the fear of losing – keeping your head cool and that is how you can have a good performance.
“I told the players at the beginning that they must believe in the intensity of our work. We needed a team mentally strong and I’m happy they worked with this and it is now our strength,” added the former Corinthians boss.
Belgium, managed by Roberto Martinez are the highest scoring side in the tournament so far while Brazil have the joint-best defensive record alongside fellow South Americans Uruguay. The Red Devils have scored twelve goals in their four matches while Brazil’s defence have only been breached once in the tournament.
Brazil will be captained on Friday by Miranda as Tite continues his rotational policy with the armband. The defender is most likely going to come up against Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku in what should be a big physical battle among both players.
“First of all, we as national team players have the responsibility of playing big matches like the one we expect on Friday,” said the Inter Milan centre back.
“We know the difficulty the match is going to present because Belgium will require a lot of technical quality from us as they are a tough opposition.
“Belgium is not just Lukaku. They are a strong attacking team and the main way to stop them is to be aware of all the players on the pitch because they have several high quality players who are skillful so our defence must be prepared to neutralise their attack,” added the 33-year old.
The Brazilians will be without defensive midfield star Casemiro for Friday’s game due to card suspension with Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho set to deputise in his absence.