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Brazil are likely to start Richarlison ahead of Vini Jr

Would Brazil really start Richarlison ahead of Vinicius Jr? It sounds like it.

Brazil-based journalist Tim Vickery joined The Football Show to discuss Brazil, Richarlison and Vinicius Jr.

Brazil enter the World Cup as strong contenders.

Tite is in charge of a squad that is loaded with talent. He has been in charge of the team since 2016 and as such has been able to install discipline and structure to get the most out of the flair players they have in attack.

But while the squad is very strong and the team should be able to compete with anyone, Tite has to make critical decisions. Brazil don't have a clear hierarchy of starters and instead they need to make big decisions between big players.

Plenty of big name players didn't even make the squad, Roberto Firmino for example. And now one superstar name is set to be left out of the starting lineup. Vinicius Jr is Real Madrid's biggest star right now. He's a Champions League winner and presumably a leading light for Brazil.

But he's set to be dropped from the starting lineup in favour of Tottenham's Richarlison.

Richarlison is not even one of Tottenham's best players. He concedes the limelight to Son and Harry Kane at club level. Yet, he offers Brazil the lead-the-line type of striker that they otherwise don't have. Journalist Tim Vickery explains.

"A few months ago, they weren't going to go with a centre forward," Vickery said.

"Those players exploded in the last 18 months or so. It was going to be a kind of 4-3-3 with Neymar as a false nine and Raphinha on the far right. Raphinha has just come into the Brazil side and made it look more natural than anyone I'd ever seen. He's extraordinary, but Vinicius on the left. Vinicius hasn't quite done the same thing.

"He still hasn't quite found his feet."

The front trio of Neymar, Vinicius and Raphinha should be terrifying. It's a group of electric players who can win with pace, power, trickery and intelligence. It's three players from three of the biggest clubs in Europe. But it's also a group of players that provide no defensive cover.

If those three players start, Brazil have no recognized striker. Richarlison can't play with them. He has to replace someone.

It's between Vinicius and Manchester United's Fred apparently. And that's not the straightforward decision you'd expect it to be.

"The complaint that the Brazil coaching staff have of Manchester United is that they've misused him for all this time. They haven't had him running forward and using that lung power. And they've said to Fred to tell the United coach that's what you're going to do. Or just go and do it.

"He's too nice for his own good.

"Richarlison...he's scored seven in his last six and they've decided that they're better with a centre forward. So how are you going to fit the centre forward into all that talent. There are two ways:

"The more conservative way, although the world is going to fall on the coach if he does this, is to drop Vinicius Jr. And play Paqueta as a kind of withdrawn left winger. Then you've got Vinicius for the bench. So that's one way of doing it.

"The other way, the more attacking, adventurous way is to drop Fred and play [Lucas] Paqueta as the second man in midfield."

Defensive teams typically do better in World Cup competitions than all-out attacking lineups. Even Brazil fit that category. So as inconceivable as it is, there is some logic to starting Fred over Vinicius. But really, wheres the logic in starting Richarlison over Vinicius?

You may be able to connect the dots on why you'd want an out-and-out striker, but surely the difference in quality is too great?

Eddie Howe has no shame.


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Brazil Richarlison Tim Vickery Vinicius Jr