Brazil are the pre-tournament favourites to win the World Cup this winter.
Historical giants of the international game with five victories on the greatest stage, the Selecao’s only defeat in the last three years came in the final of the most recent Copa America, where they lost to rivals Argentina.
Tite’s side head to Qatar having won their last seven games, scoring 26 goals and conceding just twice in that time.
It’s no wonder Dream Team World Cup gaffers have been keen to include Brazil assets when constructing their provisional teams – their attacking talent is specially tempting.
Neymar has played as a No10 in recent times, allowing Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior his preferred place on the left flank.
Raphinha will probably get the nod to play from the right, despite blowing hot and cold for Barcelona this term – the ex-Leeds winger has scored five goals and provided four assists in 11 appearances for Brazil.
The big debate right now concerns the centre-forward position, contested chiefly between Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison.
Premier League fans may see this as a no-contest in favour of the former given he’s been a key contributor to Arsenal’s flying start, scoring scoring five goals and providing five assists to help the Gunners top the table at the break.
In contrast, Richarlison is yet to score a league goal for Spurs this term, although he’s played about a third of the minutes – and of course Harry Kane leads the line for Antonio Conte’s side.
This disparity is reflected in the pair’s Dream Team World Cup popularity.
With an ownership of 13.5%, Jesus is currently the sixth-most selected forward in the game whereas Richarlison features in just 2.1% of teams.
But here’s the thing, the Spurs forward has scored seven goals in his last 303 minutes of international football – that’s one every 43.3 minutes since he returned to the squad in March.
In contrast, Gabriel Jesus has scored one goal in his last 21 appearances for Brazil and was left out of the squad by Tite as recently as September.
His impressive form under Mikel Arteta has earned him a spot on the plane to Qatar but whether he will immediately start at centre-forward is another matter entirely, especially given Richarlison’s prolific form for his country this year.
Dream Team World Cup bosses should concentrate on likely starters and so in that sense it seems 13.5% of them are making a mistake backing Jesus right now.
And in the same breath, far too many are overlooking Richarlison.
However, this is only educated guesswork, perhaps Tite has noted the pair’s respective club form in recent weeks and taken that into account when plotting his starting line-up for Brazil’s opening group game against Serbia.
But doesn’t it seem more likely that he will continue to show faith in the man who has scored seven goals in his last six international outings?
Just something to mull over, gaffers…