Tite rejected criticism of his decision to play Rodrygo Goes for just two minutes in Brazil's 3-0 win over South Korea on Tuesday.

The Brazil coach said on Monday he would be patient with the teenage forward, who has made an impressive start to life at Real Madrid.

Rodrygo has scored twice in four LaLiga appearances for Madrid and notched a hat-trick in their 6-0 Champions League demolition of Galatasaray this month.

The 18-year-old got 19 minutes on his debut in the 1-0 loss to Argentina on Friday and received even less playing time in Abu Dhabi.

"It's one thing to throw Rodrygo into a system that's already structured, like Real's. It's another thing to put him in a team that is being reassembled, even if he was doing the same job in the same position," said Tite.

"It was so hard to organise for the team for today and they responded well. They were close to scoring a fourth and a fifth.

"It was a chance for Fabinho, Renan Lodi and Militao. They earned the chance and asserted themselves. Could it have been Rodrygo? Yes, but I preserved the continuity and the good moment of the team in the game."

Brazil eased the pressure on Tite as they ended a five-match winless run with a comfortable 3-0 win over South Korea on Tuesday.

Tite has come under scrutiny as Brazil have failed to claim a victory since winning the Copa America in July.

Their miserable run included a 1-0 loss to arch rivals Argentina on Friday, but they bounced back in style in Abu Dhabi.

Lucas Paqueta opened the scoring early on and a brilliant Philippe Coutinho free-kick doubled the lead for Brazil, who secured a routine triumph through Juventus defender Danilo's second-half goal.

Paqueta broke the deadlock in the 10th minute, meeting Renan Lodi's superb cross with a stooping header after the Atletico Madrid full-back had been played in down the left by Coutinho.

Lodi continued to cause problems going forward but South Korea also threatened in an entertaining first half.

Son Heung-min bent an effort narrowly wide but South Korea's task was made considerably harder when Coutinho doubled their deficit in style.

The Bayern Munich winger found the top-left corner with a stunning free-kick from 25 yards after Hwang Ui-jo hacked down Fabinho.

South Korea were almost gifted a lifeline in an incredible passage of play as Alisson fumbled Jung Woo-young's low free-kick, with Coutinho kicking the ball against his own post in the resulting scramble before clearing behind for a corner.

However, Brazil made the game safe on the hour mark as Danilo met Lodi's pull back with a rasping drive that Cho Hyun-woo could not handle despite getting both hands to the shot.

Brazil took their foot off the gas thereafter, with South Korea reduced to efforts from distance as they failed to score for the third successive game.


What does it mean? Relief for Tite

Brazil will not play another international until the start of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers in March, and the manner of their victory will make Tite breathe a little easier following a troubling run of form. South Korea were always second best but there was nothing in their performance that suggested they will fail to progress to the third round of AFC qualifying. South Korea have yet to taste defeat in the second round.

Renan carries the Lodi

Lodi was excellent down the left for Brazil, he carried a constant threat and was rewarded with two assists. Atletico will want to see more of the same from Lodi when he returns to club action.

Hot-headed Hwang

South Korea were still very much in the game at 1-0 down but Hwang's rush of blood afforded Coutinho the opportunity to give them a mountain to climb and he took it in magnificent fashion.

What's next?

Brazil will learn their first opponents in qualifying when the draw is made next month. South Korea will compete for the East Asian title in December before returning to qualifying action in March.

Brazil can feel the confidence Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has brought to the squad, according to coach Tite.

Fabinho made his 11th appearance for Brazil off the bench in a 1-0 loss to Argentina on Friday, having made an impressive start to the Premier League season.

Tite said the 26-year-old had added plenty to Brazil, who are on a five-match winless run ahead of facing South Korea on Tuesday.

"Fabinho has built a positive growing. All the times he played, he played very well," he told a news conference.

"And he brings confidence from his club to the Brazil national squad. In a natural way, and we can feel it. It's not that you can only see it, you can feel it.

"Fabinho is playing his normal football in a role that he also has at Liverpool."

Brazil are winless since lifting the Copa America trophy in July, putting some pressure on Tite at the helm.

Tite was criticised by Rivaldo after the loss to Argentina, the Brazil great unhappy with the decision to give Lucas Paqueta – who was substituted at half-time – the number 10 shirt.

However, Tite would not be drawn into firing back at Rivaldo, instead speaking of his respect for the former Barcelona star.

"I respect opinions, I don't give opinions on them. I learnt to respect them," he said.

"And I also have a very clear opinion on Rivaldo. He was a great player and the image that comes to me is of him controlling the ball on the chest and scoring in Barcelona. The most beautiful thing in this world. That's my opinion."

Lionel Scaloni is satisfied with Argentina's progress after a friendly draw against Uruguay on Monday.

Argentina came from behind twice to secure a 2-2 draw in Tel Aviv, where Lionel Messi's stoppage-time penalty cancelled out Luis Suarez's goal after Edinson Cavani and Sergio Aguero had struck earlier.

It extended Argentina's unbeaten run to seven matches as they continued preparations for 2022 World Cup qualifying, which begins next year.

Scaloni is pleased with Argentina's development, although the coach still sees room for improvement.

"At the level of results, we are fine. At the level of the game, it can be improved," he said, via Ole.

"The team feeling is the best we have. The important thing is that the players who play do it well. Some make a difference and others support."

Scaloni acknowledged the challenge awaiting his team, describing the CONMEBOL qualifiers as the toughest in the world.

"Now we have to think about what we did well and what we can correct. What is coming is difficult," he said.

"I spoke with people from Uruguay. It will be difficult in the qualifiers. Those in South America are the most difficult in the world.

"We have a good base."

Tite has dismissed Lionel Messi's credentials as the greatest footballer of all time after insisting comparisons between him and "phenomenal" Brazil legend Pele have "no credibility." 

The Brazil coach and Messi exchanged words in Friday's game against Argentina, with Tite claiming the Barcelona forward told him to shut up during the friendly defeat in Riyadh.  

Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of Brazil legend Pele scoring his 1,000th goal and, speaking ahead of his side's clash against South Korea in Abu Dhabi the same day, Tite says three-time World Cup winner Pele remains out in front when it comes to the question of whether he or Messi is best.

He said: "Pelé is incomparable. Anybody who wants to compare Pelé to any other athlete...do you know what I do? I hear but I don`t listen.

"It's as if this person doesn't know the history of this man's quality... this guy was phenomenal. Once I said that Messi is extraordinary.

"I meant he's extraordinary to the present time and among humans, with his creativity. Pele is out of normal patterns and I'm not saying this because I'm a Brazilian. You can't find a defect.

"If somebody comes to me and starts to make comparisons, for me it has no credibility."

The loss to Argentina meant Brazil are now five matches without victory, yet Tite remains philosophical over the Copa America winners' form.

He added: "I'm not desperate to win. I'm happy to be where I am. I'm aware of the pressure but I have no desperation. I don't have any of this. What I do want is to make a great game."

Tite has warned South Korea's threat extends far beyond just that of Tottenham forward Son Heung-min.

He added: "We know about Korea's strengths, on their important victory against Germany [in the World Cup] and we respect them. We know about their individual forces, not only Son, but others and the team as a whole."

Lionel Messi scored a stoppage-time penalty to secure Argentina an entertaining 2-2 draw with Uruguay in Tel Aviv on Monday.

Argentina fell behind when Edinson Cavani, who scored in Uruguay's 2-1 win over Hungary on Friday, notched his 50th international goal in the 34th minute.

That lead was cancelled out when Sergio Aguero headed home a set-piece delivery from Messi, before Luis Suarez restored La Celeste's advantage five minutes later with a superb free-kick.

Messi missed a penalty and scored on the rebound in a 1-0 win over Brazil three days ago, but he made no mistake from the spot on this occasion and clinched the draw in the 92nd minute.

Lionel Messi was delighted with Argentina's win over Brazil, saying the rivalry between the South American nations was stronger than ever.

On his international return, Messi scored the only goal of the game in Riyadh as Argentina recorded a 1-0 friendly win.

The star tapped in a rebound after his penalty was saved by Alisson, while Gabriel Jesus earlier put a spot-kick wide for Brazil.

The win over Brazil was Argentina's first against their rivals since 2017 and Messi talked up the significance.

"The rivalry is lived more than ever and it is always good to beat Brazil," he said, via Ole.

"When you win, you work better. The ideas of the coach are carried out on the pitch in another way and it is positive for what is coming."

Argentina face Uruguay in another friendly on Monday as they continue preparations for the start of the gruelling CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying beginning in March next year.

Messi praised the defensive efforts of Lionel Scaloni's side, who stretched their unbeaten run to six games.

"There is little left for the qualifiers. There is a good team feeling," the Barcelona star said.

"On the defensive level we made a big effort."

Brazil head coach Tite said he was told to shut up by Argentina captain Lionel Messi in the friendly clash between the South American rivals.

Messi returned from a three-month international ban to lead Argentina past Brazil 1-0 thanks to his 13th-minute goal in Riyadh on Friday.

Argentina star Messi missed Argentina's previous four matches due to a suspension for accusing CONMEBOL of favouring hosts Brazil – who won their semi-final meeting – at the Copa America and he was in the thick of the action against Tite's Selecao.

Messi and Tite exchanged words in the opening half, with the Barcelona superstar seen putting his fingers to his lips as the Brazil boss complained to the referee.

"I complained because he [Messi] should have been shown a yellow card and he told me to shut my mouth and I told him to shut his mouth," Tite said. "And that was it."

Tite added: "I don't want to answer anymore on it. You need a strong referee because he'll swallow you… It should have been a card, I was right to complain."

Messi's goal condemned Brazil – who have struggled since lifting the Copa America trophy – to their fifth consecutive match without victory.

Tite accepted Brazil were under pressure after their winless run continued with a 1-0 loss to rivals Argentina in a friendly on Friday.

Lionel Messi scored the game's only goal on his return to the Argentina team in Riyadh, converting a rebound after Alisson saved his penalty in the 13th minute.

Gabriel Jesus had earlier put a penalty wide for Brazil, who are winless in five games since lifting the Copa America in July.

Tite said there was pressure on Brazil – who face South Korea in another friendly on Tuesday – amid their poor run of results.

"There is a need for the result, yes. There are moments of pressure and this is one," Tite told a news conference.

"The way we are going to look is carefully, but the need for the result occurs, even at a time of preparation."

Brazil were without the injured Neymar, and they are feeling the absence of the Paris Saint-Germain star.

Tite's side have scored just four goals in their past five games and the coach lamented Brazil's inability to take their chances.

"Translating opportunities into goals is key, and I also speak of the penalty," he said.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni lauded the attitude of his players who he feels "gave their lives for the shirt" in Friday's 1-0 win over bitter rivals Brazil.

Lionel Messi was back in the team for the first time since the Copa America after serving a four-match ban for accusing CONMEBOL of corruption.

He scored the decisive goal early on when pouncing on the rebound after seeing Alisson save his penalty a few moments after Gabriel Jesus had also failed to convert from 12 yards.

Otherwise it was a scrappy and disjointed affair, though Argentina looked considerably more threatening in the final third and were unfortunate to not add to the score in the second half.

Despite Argentina's wastefulness after the interval, Scaloni was left overjoyed with the mentality and attitude of his team.

"I liked the second half," Scaloni told reporters. "We made changes because we wanted to test for what is to come.

"The team responded – it goes beyond who plays. They give their lives for the shirt and really played well."

Argentina remain unbeaten in their five post-Copa America matches, while Brazil – who have also played five times since lifting the trophy – are winless in that period.

Edinson Cavani and Brian Rodriguez were on target as Uruguay ran out 2-1 winners against a Hungary side celebrating the opening of the new Puskas Arena.

The 68,000-seat state-funded stadium hosted its first match in front of a packed-out crowd in Budapest.

Those in attendance were treated to a barnstorming opening to the friendly as all three goals arrived inside 25 minutes, with Cavani and Rodriguez putting the visitors in command.

Adam Szalai scored the first Hungary goal at the ground to halve the deficit but it was a lead they were unable to turn around.

Uruguay were ahead after 15 minutes when Matias Vina's excellent left-wing centre was turned in at the far post by Cavani.

Luis Suarez then teed up Rodriguez, who jinked inside on the left of the box and bent a sublime effort into the far corner.

Hungary reduced the arrears when Szalai coolly slotted home Roland Varga's cut-back with his left foot.

Substitute Maxi Gomez had the opportunity to restore the two-goal cushion when slipped in by Cavani in the 64th minute, only for Botond Barath to make a superb recovery block.

Cristhian Stuani almost bundled his way through in the closing stages, but Denes Dibusz stood up well to his close-range effort.

Lionel Messi scored on his return from a three-month ban as Argentina beat bitter rivals Brazil 1-0 in Riyadh on Friday.

Messi missed Argentina's previous four matches due to a suspension for accusing CONMEBOL of favouring hosts Brazil – who won their semi-final meeting – at the Copa America and he made a decisive impact in the friendly, billed as the Superclasico de las Americas, as the Selecao's winless streak reached five games.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner earned Argentina an early penalty and netted at the second time of asking after Gabriel Jesus had also spurned an opportunity from 12 yards.

Another couple of chances were crafted for Messi, but he failed to add to his tally and the match became extremely scrappy and disjointed after the break, with clear-cut chances at a premium.

A ferocious start saw both sides awarded a penalty inside the first 12 minutes and remarkably neither of them were scored, with Jesus missing the target after being tripped by Leandro Paredes, before Messi had his saved by Alisson.

But luckily for Argentina and the returning Messi, Alisson put the ball right back into the danger zone and the Barcelona star buried the rebound.

Messi went close to a second in rather more characteristic fashion, as he dribbled from inside his own half and got a shot away from the edge of the box, but his effort was a little tame and Alisson stopped it easily.

The second half was significantly untidier, though Argentina still looked more threatening, with Messi's long-range free-kick forcing Alisson to tip it over.

Lautaro Martinez should have wrapped things up 10 minutes from time when he blazed over inside the area, though Brazil – who handed Rodrygo Goes and Wesley debuts from the bench – were unable to punish the let-off and Argentina claimed victory.

 

What does it mean? Issues remain for incoherent Brazil

Since winning the Copa America, Brazil have been thoroughly underwhelming. With Friday's defeat, they have not won any of their five matches since lifting the trophy in July.

The most alarming element of the Selecao's performance was the anonymity of their attackers. Jesus struggled, Roberto Firmino offered precious little and Willian's impact amounted to little more than a couple of mazy runs that came to nothing.

Alisson one of few to match expectations

It was one of those games where there were not many standout performances to choose from. Alisson at least performed as well as one might expect, saving Messi's penalty – albeit parrying it straight back to him – and producing seven stops in total.

Jesus struggles to impose himself

Although he won Brazil's penalty, there was little to be impressed about in Jesus' display. He failed to hit the target with his spot-kick, while he was unable to make much of an impact up against Nicolas Otamendi and German Pezzella.

What's next?

It is on to Abu Dhabi next for Brazil, as they face South Korea on Tuesday. Argentina are scheduled to be in action against Uruguay in Tel Aviv, Israel the day before. However, La Celeste are yet to confirm their participation after a recent escalation in tension in nearby Gaza.

Lionel Messi was restored to Argentina's starting XI to face Brazil upon his return from a three-month suspension.

Messi has not played for Argentina since being sent off in the Copa America third-place play-off against Chile in July.

It was the Barcelona superstar's post-match outburst after the semi-final defeat to Brazil that resulted in his suspension, however, as he accused CONMEBOL of corruption and favouring Tite's Copa America hosts.

That earned him a lengthy ban and a $50,000 fine, with Messi missing games against Chile, Mexico, Germany and Ecuador.

But having been included in the squad once again, Messi was straight back into the starting XI for the contest in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Joining him in attack was Lautaro Martinez – passed fit after sustaining a head injury with Inter at the weekend – while Sergio Aguero, who like Messi has not featured for Argentina since the Copa America, was on the bench.

There were few surprises in the Brazil starting XI, with Roberto Firmino, Willian and Gabriel Jesus forming the attack in the absence of the injured Neymar.

Real Madrid winger Rodrygo Goes could earn his first cap from the bench.

 

Brazil boss Tite lauded Rodrygo for setting a strong example to aspiring footballers ahead of the teenager's potential international debut.

The 18-year-old Real Madrid forward could win his first senior cap when Brazil face old rivals Argentina in Saudi Arabia on Friday.

Rodrygo was called-up after winning his maiden competitive start for Madrid and pressed his case for minutes with a sparkling hat-trick in the club's recent 6-0 hammering of Galatasaray.

The scene-stealing treble made him the second youngest player, behind Los Blancos great Raul, to score three times in a Champions League match.

But the exciting Santos product has made a positive impression on Tite beyond his footballing ability.

"I talked to him and said he had to be very proud of his behaviour. As a person, as an example," Tite said.

"I asked him to give a hug to his parents for the education they gave. Say thanks to Jair Ventura, the coach who launched him. He is an example for a lot of young boys who would like to be in his position.

"He must think I am a little crazy, because I was talking and I do not know him, this is our first meeting.

"But I saw that when he scored the first goal [against Galatasaray] he went to hug [Karim] Benzema, who assisted. When he completed the hat-trick, I saw the television camera was focusing on him and he didn't look at the camera. He took the ball and kissed it and stood there.

"He becomes an example for a number of boys. Football is a transformation agent, both for good and for bad. He's like that, and I ended up telling him to hug his parents. I don't know them, but they deserve it."

Brazil's date with Argentina could also mark the return of Lionel Messi, who has not featured for the Albiceleste since the Copa America.

Messi was effectively shackled by Brazil as they prevailed 2-0 in the semi-finals of that tournament, but Tite remains wary of the Barcelona captain.

"He is a different player, he has impressive technical qualities,” the Selecao coach said.

"We have different strategies. We never neutralise such a player, we reduce the qualities. But football is an essentially collective sport.

"A strong collective will improve a Neymar, Coutinho, Firmino, Willian, Otamendi, Messi, Aguero.

"We know that the group improves the individual. Of course, we are dealing with Messi. He is a distinct player."

James Rodriguez has been ruled out of Colombia's friendly against Peru on Friday after suffering a knee injury in training.

The Real Madrid midfielder, 28, will miss the clash in Florida after hurting his left knee, the Colombian Football Federation (FCF) said in a statement on Thursday.

James complained of "discomfort" in his left knee during training, leading to the FCF ruling him out of the Peru fixture.

"The player was evaluated by the medical body and his first diagnosis is reserved," the statement said.

"For now and as a precaution, the player James Rodriguez is ruled out for the match against Peru.

"In the next few hours, a detailed imaging study will be carried out to confirm the definitive diagnosis."

Colombia are winless in their past five matches and will also face Ecuador on Tuesday.

James has made nine appearances for Madrid this season, scoring once.

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