Brazil coach Tite isn’t a fan of penalty shootouts. He doesn’t have any better ideas, though.
“Taking a penalty is something really hard. A football match should never end by taking penalties,” Tite said Thursday. “I don’t see that as a valid result. But I don’t know what to suggest instead.”
The five-time champions have a 3-1 record in penalty shootouts at the World Cup. After losing the first one they played against France in 1986, the Selecao came out on top of the last three.
Brazil won the 1994 World Cup final by defeating Italy in a shootout following a goalless draw, eliminated the Netherlands on penalties to make it to the 1998 final and advanced to the quarterfinals four years ago by ousting Chile the same way.
Only Germany and Argentina, with four wins each, have won more World Cup shootouts than Brazil.
Tite said his players have been practicing spot kicks ahead of their quarterfinal match against Belgium on Friday. Three of the eight knockout matches so far at this year’s World Cup were decided by a penalty shootout.
“Taking penalties is a technique that is associated with emotional control,” Tite said. “We have been practicing penalties. It’s an incredible responsibility.”
Before shootouts were introduced at the World Cup in 1978, matches that ended in a draw were replayed. The first shootout came at the 1982 tournament in Spain.
Brazil and Belgium have met only once at the World Cup, back in 2002 when the South Americans won 2-0 in the last 16. But Belgium has arguably its best-ever team this year with strength in all positions.
Led by captain Eden Hazard, Belgium has played an enthralling brand of attacking soccer and is the highest scorer in the competition with 12 goals in four matches. Striker Romelu Lukaku has scored four of those and is second at the tournament behind England striker Harry Kane, who has six.
“Belgium is not just about Lukaku,” Brazil center back Miranda said. “It’s a very strong attacking team. They have several high qualities, very skillful, and can play a very vertical game. But our defense is going to be well prepared to neutralize all of their attacks.”
Tite said Marcelo will return at left back against Belgium after he was sidelined with back problems during Brazil’s 2-0 win over Mexico in the previous round.
“Filipe Luis played very well,” Tite said, “but Marcelo is coming back.”
Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho will also likely be given a starting role as a replacement for Casemiro, who is suspended for the match.