vs. Location: King Saud University Stadium, Saudi Arabia Brazil roster:Goleiros: Alisson (Liverpool) Daniel Fuzato (Roma) Santos (Atheltico Paranaense) Defensores: Danilo (Juventus) Emerson (Bétis) Alex Sandro (Juventus) Renan Lodi (Atlético de Madrid) Eder Militão (Real Madrid) Felipe (Atlético de Madrid) Marquinhos (PSG) Thiago Silva (PSG) Meio-campistas: Arthur (Barcelona) Casemiro (Real Madrid) Fabinho (Liverpool) Paquetá (Milan) Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munchen) Atacantes: Wesley (Aston Villa) Lucas Moura (Tottenham) Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) Richarlison (Everton) Rodrygo (Real Madrid) Willian (Chelsea) The Brazilian national team closes out the 2019 season with two friendlies, and as was the case in October 2018, Brazil will play in Saudi Arabia. According to some sources, this match will be a “Superclássico das Américas” fixture, but even so, it has not captured the attention of fans the way the two teams’ last confrontation did. Then, in a Copa América semifinal won by Brazil 2-0, fans from both sides made a substantial emotional investment in the two rivals’ first cup knockout confrontation since the 2007 Copa América final. While there is never a friendly match between Brazil and Argentina, given the timing of the match: in the final stages of the 2019 Campeonato Brasileiro and 8 days before the Flamengo vs. River Plate one-match final in the 2019 Copa Libertadores, a friendly in a place a foreign to Brazilians and Argentines as Saudi Arabia is not in any way going to draw as much attention as the July confrontation did, all the more as the latter took place in Brazil, with Argentine fans aplenty on the stands. One year ago, when the two teams met in October and Brazil won 1-0, both were beginning a post-World Cup rebuilding process. One year later, it appears that for the first time, the positive momentum has switched sides. Although Brazil won the 2019 Copa América, Tite’s men have not won one of their post-tournament fixtures, with a 2-2 draw vs. Colombia, a 0-1 loss to Peru, and two consecutive 1-1 draws vs. Senegal and Nigeria last month. Tite has been criticized for questionable roster choices, as he chose some Flamengo players in October, but at least for this match (and for November 19’s match vs. the Republic of Korea), Tite decided to exclude all Brazilian teams’ players – although he did select Athletico Paranaense’ goalkeeper Santos to replace Ederson, who injured himself during Manchester City’s 1-1 draw vs. Atalanta during a Champions’ League match last week. Lionel Scaloni, who took over his team without any coaching experience, has collected some good results and his team is beginning to show better form. The Argentines, like Brazil, played 4 matches after the South American continental tournament, alternating draws with goleadas: a 0-0 tie with Chile, a 4-0 win over Mexico, a 2-2 draw with Germany, and a 6-1 demolition of Ecuador back on October 13. While Tite left out Neymar, Scaloni brought back Messi and Agüero, who missed out the October matches. And over the weekend, Tite called up Wesley from Aston Villa to replace David Neres, whose knee injury will keep him out of play for a few months. Wesley has a peculiar condition: his left leg is 3 centimeters longer than his right leg, and after using a support on his right shoe to even out his legs’ lengths, he decided to discard the item and to play as is. For Tite, who continues to select different players as he aims to rebuild Brazil towards 2022 and with an eye towards qualifying, which begins in March 2020, the pressure is on. Brazilian sports journalists have repeatedly criticized him in comparing his performance to Portugal’s Jorge Jesus, who has taken Brazil’s premiership by storm with his high-octane Flamengo (who may win the Libertadores this year). Some pundits have called for Jorge Jesus to replace Tite. Other voices, like Romário, have said Tite’s turn is past as he failed in Russia; Romário favors giving the NT job to Renato Gaúcho. While Argentina is still finding itself following the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 Copa América, it is definitely on the upswing, and a victory against Brazil would not only grant Scaloni even more political capital, but would also serve as a measure of revenge against Brazil for what many Argentines view as an unfair win by Brazil in the Copa América due to controversial refereeing. A win would also send the pressure on Tite far higher, as it’d signify 2 losses in 5 games (this considering Tite took 26 matches, between September 2016 and July 2018, to lose his second match). In my assessment, Tite has far more to lose than Scaloni does. Scaloni is a rookie manager and he’s learning on the job; a defeat vs. Brazil would not be shameful, even if it did hurt due to the rivalry. A win for Tite would take down some of the pressure. Two defeats, or a defeat and a draw, would mean his job would be on the line as WCQ started. In that case, Brazil would be better off losing to Korea than to Argentina, even though the latter is a decidedly superior opponent. The following was the starting XI deployed by Scaloni in his team's 6-1 friendly win vs. Ecuador: Agustín Marchesín (Porto); Juan Marcos Foyth (Tottenham), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Walter Kannemann (Grêmio), Marcos Acuña (Sporting); Nicolás González (Stuttgart), Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese), Leandro Paredes (PSG), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla); Lucas Alario (Bayer Leverkusen) and Lautaro Martínez (Internazionale).