Liverpool star Roberto Firmino makes late bid for Brazil World Cup starting spot
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Russia World Cup 2018 countdown—6 DAYS
Impressing on Sunday with a cool late goal against Croatia at his regular old haunt, the iconic Anfield, Roberto Firmino this week waits in hope of being awarded more minutes by Tite against a familiar foe in Austria, against whom the Liverpool striker scored his first ever goal in Brazil’s famed yellow and green shirt.
A lot has changed since then. On November 18, 2014 when Firmino clinched his side’s winner in a 2-1 victory in Vienna, he defended the colours of Hoffenheim and constantly had his involvement with the national side questioned by a demanding, football-loving public.
Now however, since transformed into one of the best marksmen on the planet this season, Tite’s persistence with the 26-year-old ceases to be doubted and his inclusion in the 23-man squad for Russia seems almost compulsory.
As is well-known though there is staunch competition for the sole number 9 slot from Gabriel Jesus and the Man City star’s appointment as captain on Sunday meant that Firmino was again forced to watch from the bench, even at his home ground.
As mentioned, he came on in the second half and didn’t disappoint by improving the Seleção in its offensive endeavours through creating three opportunities and rocking the back of the net after Casemiro's work-of-art throw-in.
Swiftly after the match, Firmino was naturally asked questions on his chances of becoming Tite’s main man that were avoided in the politest of ways. "I'm here to help the Seleção and to do my best when Tite needs me to. I always respect his opinion", the former Figueirense forward declared.
As the top scorer of the team alongside Neymar since Tite’s arrival, Gabriel Jesus is the coach’s darling and was pivotal during a World Cup qualifying campaign that seemed destined to end in failure, should Dunga not have been relieved of his duties.
On Sunday however, against a side with whom he has previous form, it remains to be seen whether Firmino is given the nod and a chance to make a last-minute bid for starting recognition.
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