- Associated Press - Thursday, December 21, 2017

SAO PAULO (AP) - Brazil coach Adenor Bacchi, universally known as Tite, says there are up to eight places still available in the squad he will take to next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Tite told reporters Thursday that although he was focusing on “consolidation of the team… of course, there are openings - six, seven, eight players for us to confirm” in the squad.

Judging by his selections for recent matches, Tite’s biggest doubt is over the best player to take to Russia as an understudy for striker Gabriel Jesus, with Roberto Firmino leading that contest so far.

Brazil will play two friendlies before the final squad is announced. The first will be against Russia in Moscow on March 23 and the other will be four days later against World Cup holder Germany in Berlin.

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