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Brazil Coach Tite Says Selecao Must Reach 2019 Copa America Final 'At a Minimum'

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 16, 2018

Brazil's Head Coach Adenor Leonardo Bacchi (Tite) gestures during a press conference to announce his squad of players for the upcoming friendly matches against Saudi Arabia and Argentina  in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on September 21, 2018. (Photo by Mauro Pimentel / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty Images)
MAURO PIMENTEL/Getty Images

Brazil manager Tite has put the pressure on his side to emerge triumphant at the 2019 Copa America in June and said reaching the final must be their minimum goal. 

The Selecao will host the tournament for the first time in 30 years and are hoping to make the final after missing out in the previous three competitions.

But Tite has lofty expectations and spoke to the media ahead of Friday's friendly against Uruguay at the Emirates Stadium: "We must play very well, and we must win, we must be champions. At a minimum, we must reach the final. And, before that, have a good performance. I say it because we culturally live in a country that lives football." 

Before 2007, Brazil had never gone two Copa America tournaments in succession failing to finish at least fourth or higher. They've now failed to progress past the quarter-finals in the past three tournaments and were knocked out in the group stage of the 2016 edition.

Tite, 57, replaced Dunga at the helm following that dismal result, the first time since 1987 that the Selecao had failed to advance past the first round.

The manager is aware of the pressure on his shoulders and also hinted at his future, adding: "I want to do my best in my daily job. I want to be the best version of me, I want to improve, to give opportunities through my work. The time I'll have...I don't know."

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Player selection is always a source of debate for the Selecao. Seven months remain until the 2019 Copa America, and Brazilian football researcher Paulo Freitas highlighted a peculiar method Tite plans to employ leading up to the tournament to refine his choices:

Brazil fans expect confidence from their manager at all times. Tite has sought to boost morale and encourage that confidence, but expectations for a run to the final will only ramp up the pressure.

The former Corinthians and Internacional coach has also made a point of promoting certain young players in his time as Brazil coach, such as Barcelona gem Arthur and Everton forward Richarlison, both 21.

Eight players in Tite's 23-man squad have five caps or fewer, but he recently argued against suggestions that he's rewarding senior caps too easily, per broadcaster Juan G. Arango:

Brazil disappointed again at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia this past summer and fell in the last eight, their third time exiting at that stage in the past four World Cups.

Their recent history in the Copa America hasn't been any better, but Tite has taken the stance that the eight-time champions must reclaim their place on South America's throne—or at least make it to the Rio de Janeiro decider.