Brazil Goalkeepers In Training

Brazil May Rotate Their Starting Goalkeeper At The World Cup – Is That A Good Idea?

For a couple of years now has been somewhat reluctant to name a starting goalkeeper. It kind of seems like Alisson Becker is the preferred option for Tite, but then he gives Ederson some playing time. In the late stages of the CONMEBOL qualifiers for the World Cup since Brazil had already made the tournament manager Tite even called up local goalkeepers not even forcing Ederson or Alisson to make the trip from Europe to South America. In the last main tournament that the team played Tite did in fact rotate his goalkeepers giving the 3 of them that he brought to the tournament a chance to play. Is it a good idea for any team to rotate starting goalkeepers? Particularly in a tournament like the World Cup? We’re going to explore this idea here today!    

Ederson & Alisson Are Quality Goalkeepers So You Should Be Alright 

Alisson Training With Brazil

The first thing that we can’t necessarily overlook is the fact that Brazil has two quality goalkeepers. There’s an argument to be made that maybe other than Germany there’s no other team in the world that has a better goalkeeper duo. Alisson Becker isn’t necessarily having a great season at Liverpool. That’s certainly something that we don’t want to overlook. As previously stated though, he does seem to be the preferred option. In the last call-up where both of these keepers were on the roster Alisson got two games, and Ederson got one. We could take that as a sign of things to come.  

For his part Ederson is an awkward spot for sure. He’s established himself as the number one option for Man City in goal. To be honest though in most outings he’s not asked to do a lot. Tite can’t just look at the box score and judge his goalkeepers on that. If that’s the way that things are going to go Ederson should be the starter hands down. The numbers reflect the fact though, that at this point in time he’s part of a much better squad. For his part Alisson is kind of caught in the middle of a rebuild. 

Although as I mentioned plenty of countries would like to find themselves in this dilemma it’s hard to figure out which way Tite is going to go. From the looks of things he’s going off personal preference taking into account the unique skill sets that each goalkeeper has. That may just be the most “fair” thing that he can do. He’ll probably still rotate their appearances in the World Cup.     

The Effect That Rotating Goalkeepers Can Have On The Player

Ederson Moraes training with Man City
Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN

This is actually a topic that I may cover in depth in another article. Not necessarily talking about the effects that rotating goalkeepers can have on these two guys, but I know that plenty of youth team goalkeepers go through this. You could essentially look at the glass as half or half full when you’re in this position. I know that it’s a massive generalization, what I’m doing because you can go through a lot of ups and downs in the process, but bear with me. Since you know you’re going to get another chance you may be open to taking more chances while you’re in goal. The other way that you can look at it though is that you can’t make the mistake because you’re always in an active competition.    

It can be really hard because when you come off the field after a great game you sort of know in the back of your mind that it doesn’t matter. You’re going to see the bench in the next game. These two guys, Alisson, and Ederson have essentially been in that situation for a long time. From Tite’s perspective I think that he looks at it (rotating his goalkeepers) as a way to make sure they both keep coming to the call-ups. If you name a clear-cut starter the other keeper may not want to make those trips from Europe to South America to sit on the bench. It’s a good idea to try and keep everyone happy, but how can this affect the team?    

Alisson and Ederson Are Different Goalkeepers That Could Hurt/ Benefit The Team

Ederson Goal Kick

The way that a goalkeeper plays can directly impact how a team’s back line is going to be able to play. If you have a goalkeeper that likes to take on that role of the sweeper keeper then you can have a back line that plays further up field. When you don’t have that type of keeper it’s a big risk to always want to press on the opponent. It’s a big risk anyway actually, but when you’re out of sync it’s obviously even worse. That’s the issue that I see with Ederson, and Alisson. If the team gets too used to Ederson who is more of a sweeper keeper, and then you put Alisson in you can run the risk of getting caught with a bunch of space on the counter. 

How can you use this duality to your advantage? Well you can adapt your back line to the type of goalkeeper that you have between the sticks. That’s going to give Ederson for example a shot to play in games when Brazil is looking to provide heavy pressure up front. You’ll have that luxury as Tite to play a more aggressive style knowing that you’ve got Ederson in the back. Now, there’s an argument to be made that Ederson isn’t as great on his feet as he maybe thinks. That’s a conversation may be for another topic. Without a doubt though if you have this idea in mind to be more aggressive Ederson can provide certain things that Alisson won’t. That’s not to say that he’s the better goalkeeper across the board.    

What We Can Expect To See From Brazil In Goal At The World Cup 

Brazil May Rotate Their Starting Goalkeeper At The World Cup - Is That A Good Idea?

I would be surprised if we didn’t see at least two goalkeepers play for Brazil at the World Cup. As previously stated they played all 3 of the goalkeepers on the roster at the Copa America. That’s a bit of a stretch in my opinion for a World Cup. Let’s call them like we see them though, there’s a chance that Brazil will arrive at the final game of the group stage having qualified to the second round. In that case they may end up trotting out their third string goalkeeper. As they advance in the tournament though, what could you do? Play Ederson in the round of 16, and go back to Alisson for the Quarter Final round? If you advance, who’s playing the semi finals?  

If recent games are any indication there’s a good chance that we see Ederson play some time in the group stage. Ultimately though Tite has shown Alisson is his first choice goalkeeper. Expect to see him between the sticks for most of Brazil’s games in Qatar. Of course, there could be an injury or just a massive drop in play. To be fair, it’s not like Alisson is looking on his game at Liverpool at this point in the season. So maybe it’s Ederson who’ll take the baton and surprise us all. For the most part though, it’s not a great idea to keep switching goalkeepers all the time at the national team level.