Tite satisfied despite end of Brazil's 9-match winning run

Colombia's James Rodriguez (left) and Brazil's Willian vie for the ball during the 1-1 draw in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday. Willian volleyed home the game's opening goal in the first half.
Colombia's James Rodriguez (left) and Brazil's Willian vie for the ball during the 1-1 draw in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday. Willian volleyed home the game's opening goal in the first half.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BARRANQUILLA (Colombia) • Brazil coach Tite was happy with his team's performance despite seeing their nine-match winning streak in World Cup qualifying end against Colombia on Tuesday.

Both teams settled for a 1-1 draw, after a second-half header by Colombia's Radamel Falcao cancelled out Willian's stunning first-half volley for the Brazilians.

"I was more pleased with the consistency of this game than the last against Ecuador," Tite said.

"Today we maintained a standard of performance that gives consistency to the team. The resulting draw was justified. But if there was a winner, it would be Brazil because of the chances created."

Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho, who is still fighting to be fit following a back injury, played only the last 15 minutes for Brazil.

The 25-year-old was slotted into central midfield in place of Renato Augusto instead of his usual position further up on the right of the field.

And Tite was glad that he could play his men in different positions.

"I could have kept Renato on and taken off Paulinho, but I wanted to maintain the support on the right because of Dani Alves' yellow card.

"I have these options, these weapons, these cannons, and I can't stop using them."

Colombia have never beaten Brazil in a World Cup qualifying match. Tite's men have already qualified for the Finals in Russia next year and the draw kept the Colombians in second place behind them with two matches remaining.

"Both the result and the performance were good and we deserve congratulations," Willian told reporters after the match in the searing heat of the tropical port city.

"We created chances but it is difficult to play here, the pitch was dry and the ball bounced a lot.

"My goal was nice. I caught it just right."

The Chelsea winger gave Brazil the lead in first-half stoppage time when he pounced on a Neymar knock-down to volley spectacularly into the top corner of the net from 20m out.

Colombia levelled the score 11 minutes into the second half when Falcao rose to meet a cross from the right and glanced a powerful header down and into the net.

Brazil, the only team to win the World Cup five times, top the 10-team group and are the only South American side to have so far qualified for Russia.

The top four teams qualify automatically for the tournament, with the fifth-place side going into a play-off against New Zealand.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2017, with the headline 'Tite satisfied despite end of Brazil's 9-match winning run'. Print Edition | Subscribe