World Cup 2018

Marcelo fit and will start against Belgium, Tite confirms

Marcelo back in contention for Belgium clash, Tite confirms

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After struggling with a back injury since Brazil's final group game, the Real Madrid defender will retake his place for the quarter-final.

Brazil head coach Tite has confirmed Marcelo will start in Friday's World Cup quarter-final with Belgium after recovering from a back injury.

The Real Madrid left-back lasted just 10 minutes of Brazil's 2-0 Group E win over Serbia, when he was forced off with back spasms and replaced by Filipe Luis.

Marcelo subsequently missed the 2-0 defeat of Mexico in the last 16 and Filipe Luis generally looked assured, even if Hirving Lozano caused him a few issues.

Tite also stated that Fernandinho will come in to replace the suspended Casemiro against the Red Devils.

"I spoke to Marcelo and Filipe Luís and explained the situation," Tite told a press conderence. "Marcelo was out of the team because of a medical problem and he missed the next game because he hadn't fully revovered. Filipe Luís, for his part, played very well in those two games and he presented me with a difficult situation but Marcelo will return to the starting line-up. And Fernandinho will come in for Casemiro."

One player who still does not appear to have done enough to earn a starting role is Roberto Firmino.

The Liverpool star scored Brazil's second in the win over Mexico after replacing Gabriel Jesus, who has had an underwhelming tournament so far from an individual perspective.

"The play is designed according to the match itself," the coach said. "Versatility plays a role, Jesus has that and we can adjust to him. All the players joining [as substitutes] have been effective.

"I make a confession here about after the Serbia game - I usually hug everyone, I don't talk too much because the changing room isn't the place for that.

"But I gave Firmino a hug and said you deserved that [goal] for the two matches you played [from the bench].

"I can't say what he said, but he said something like: 'I'm really happy'. But the coach must read the needs of the team.

"To develop the relationship we have with players with different characteristics [you must change sometimes], but it doesn't mean players can't be decisive."

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