The camera panned to the Brazilian huddle just before kick-off and two men could be seen rallying their teammates: Neymar and Casemiro. In Brazil coach Tite’s latest generation of the Brazil squad, Neymar and Madrid’s own Casemiro stand out as the clear leaders and veteran heads.
On paper, this match looked like a walk in the park for Brazil, but the Saudi’s put up a good fight. Brazil only led narrowly throughout the match, in fact, they were 1-0 up until the 93rd minute. It was a late headed goal from Alex Sandro that helped create a bit more distance between the two teams. Saudi Arabia showed a decent technical level and looked to play once they had the ball in their possession.
From a Madrid perspective, Casemiro was solid and fortunately was substituted in the 65th minute—likely to get some rest ahead of Brazil’s match agaisnt eternal rivals, Argentina. Casemiro played as single pivot in Tite’s traditional 4-3-3 formation. Manchester United’s Fred and Renato Augusto of Beijing Guoan both played centrally, either side of Casemiro. Interestingly, Casemiro is given more responsibility to build play with Brazil and can often been seen splitting the two center backs and picking up the ball to start Brazil’s next possesion. The Saudi’s failed to produce any cohesive press and preferred to sit back as the match wore on, so Casemiro’s comfort on the ball was evident. Overall, it was a good game for Case who will gave all eyes focused on the Argentina game.