- Title: Resurgent Brazil almost ready for Russia, says coach
- Date: 28th November 2016
- Summary: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (NOVEMBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF BRAZILIAN SOCCER CONFEDERATION (CBF) BUILDING
- Embargoed: 13th December 2016 17:50
- Keywords: World Cup qualifying World Cup Dunga
- Location: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
- City: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Soccer,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ACZY9R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Brazil's six-game winning streak has rejuvenated the five times world champions and put them on the verge of reaching the 2018 finals in Russia with new coach Tite aiming to build on form that even he has found surprising.
"We're well on our way to qualification, there's not far to go, but we are not going to let our guard down, we are going to make sure we are well mobilised so that we can confirm our qualification, and this possibility already rests on the next game," Tite said in an exclusive interview with Reuters at his office in Rio de Janeiro on Monday (November 28).
Brazil visit Uruguay in March and no one would bet against them becoming the first South American side to qualify for Russia with an opportunity to make up for the disastrous end to their home World Cup in 2014 when they crashed out 7-1 to Germany in the semi-finals.
Brazil are the only country to have played at every World Cup but when Tite took over that streak looked in jeopardy as they languished in sixth place in the South American qualifying table, with the top four going through automatically and the fifth-placed side entering a playoff.
However, he has turned the team's fortunes around since replacing Dunga in June and said his first six games - with 17 goals scored and one conceded - were easier than he expected. They top the qualifying group with 27 points from 12 games.
"I thought it would be more complicated and more difficult, well not more difficult but with less results, especially with the unpredictability of soccer, which we have to control," he said.
"I didn't imagine that we'd have these numbers and, even better than the numbers, such form, even with all that nervousness, which is natural, in the first game against Ecuador, in the first half we were very nervous. We have kept up a high standard of performance. That's significant," Tite added.
Tite is not known for his attacking football or as being a revolutionary tactician, but he is an excellent man manager and peerless at organising a team that is resilient at the back and capable up front.
He has transformed a struggling side that was criticised for relying too heavily on talisman Neymar, with youngsters Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus both taking on bigger roles.
"It is not that it might, it will make a difference, what is important is that there is a group of people around," he concluded.
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