For the fifth consecutive match this World Cup, Gabriel Jesus will start for Brazil ahead of Roberto Firmino – despite the latter coming off the bench in the Last 16 victory over Mexico and scoring.
The football public is utterly confused by the fact Tite is remaining faithful with Manchester City’s youngster when Liverpool’s no.9 is far outperforming him every time he comes off the bench.
In fact, Firmino has made an impact in all three of the games he’s played so far and actually had more shots on target than Jesus, despite playing only 61 minutes altogether.
Brazil starter Willian though thinks Jesus is in the side because of his hard-work and effort off the ball, which when you consider Firmino is the most unselfish, intensely defensive central striker in world football, is crazy.
“I hear people criticise him for not scoring but the work he does in marking and recovering the ball is brilliant,” he said, reported by Manchester Evening News.
“We trust him to continue with us. Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino are equally important.”
In fairness, Brazil’s loss is our gain. Firmino will hopefully return to pre-season a little fresher than if Tite had seen the light and selected him from the outset on every occasion.
Firmino’s Liverpool teammates Dejan Lovren, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have quarterfinals tomorrow for Croatia and England respectively.