efe-epaPorto Alegre (Brazil)

During the three years Tite has spent training the Brazil national team, his team has only lost two games but these were both played without Casemiro, who will miss Thursday’s Copa America quarterfinals due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Brazil is yet to find out who its next opponent will be with Paraguay, Ecuador, Japan or Uruguay as the four possible contenders.

The Real Madrid midfielder is the engine of the Brazil national team as he is the key to maintaining the balance and defensive strength the team's coach insists on at every press conference.

However, Casemiro will not be available for the game to be held at Porto Alegre’s Arena do Gremio having been given a yellow card during the 5-0 rout of Peru.

During the final round-robin match-day, he scored his first-ever goal with Brazil, setting his national team on the way to the big win.

It could be a coincidence - or not - but, Casemiro did not take to the field during the only two defeats Brazil has conceded out of 39 matches it has played under Tite.

Brazil’s most recent defeat came at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, when it lost to Belgium 2-1 in the quarterfinal.

Back then, Casemiro had been booked during the last-16 match against Mexico as he tried to stop a counterattack.

His replacement, Fernandinho, who is likely to be so on Thursday, was overwhelmed by Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.

He was accompanied by Paulinho, who had been left out of the Copa America squad, and this time Fernandinho is expected to play alongside Barcelona’s Arthur.

The other defeat Tite had to endure without Casemiro was against Argentina in June 2017 in the Australian city of Melbourne.

Playing the first game under Jorge Sampaoli, Argentina defeated Brazil 1-0 with Fernandinho, Paulinho and Renato Augusto playing in Brazil’s midfield.

Tite decided to rest Casemiro for the Argentina game.

Commenting on Casemiro’s absence, Tite said it represents “an opportunity” for other players.

The coach still has confidence in the Manchester City midfielder and said if he is in perfect condition, he will replace Casemiro.

Thirty-four-year-old Fernandinho has recently recovered from a right knee injury he sustained nearly a week ago in the scoreless draw against Venezuela.

He trained with his teammate on Sunday and he is most likely to start the game.

Tite can also count on Napoli’s Allan, but his inclination for attacking could leave Arthur alone in the midfield. EFE

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