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WORLD CUP DIARY: Belgium and Brazil through; England set for huge game
Fernandinho hasn’t been a regular starter for Brazil at this World Cup. He’s come off the bench for each of their four matches so far (a total of 64 minutes), helping his side see games out by adding running power and defensive stability to their engine room.
Tite usually opts for a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Fernandinho vying for one of the two defensive-midfield positions. With the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus in attacking areas, and Marcelo bombing forward from left-back, Brazil require discipline from their midfield anchors.
Casemiro and Paulinho are Tite’s first-choice in that area. It is a sure-fire sign of Brazil’s strength in depth that a player of Fernandinho’s quality isn’t an automatic starter, but he has a crucial role to play.
Their performance in the win over Mexico in the last-16 suggests they will go deep into the competition, with a variety of different challenges likely to come their way. Fernandinho, who brings energy and box-to-box qualities, is capable of having a significant impact.
Let’s not forget, he came into this World Cup on the back of his best season for Manchester City. He played in 48 games (3,990 minutes) across four competitions as the Blues won the Premier League and League Cup and was one of our most consistent performers.
“He is one of the best three holding midfielders in the world,” Pep Guardiola said of the Brazilian back in November. It’s an assessment that’s difficult to disagree with,
He made his debut for Brazil in 2011 in a defeat to Germany. He made four further appearances in quick succession, but his international career soon stalled. He failed to make the squad for the 2011 Copa America, he would not play again until 2014.
But he made a goalscoring return to the Selecao side in 5-0 win over South Africa and was named in Brazil’s 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup in his home nation where they made the semi-final before losing to Germany.
In total, he has won 48 caps for Brazil, scoring two goals.
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