Brazil took part in their first match of 2019 on Saturday as they faced Panama in a friendly at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao in Portugal.
Tite’s men could only reach the quarter-final of last summer’s World Cup, where they were eliminated by a clinical and in-form Belgium side.
One of the big talking points from their campaign in Russia was Gabriel Jesus being in the starting XI for all five matches ahead of Roberto Firmino – but didn’t score a single goal.
Since then, Firmino has started in Brazil’s final three games of 2018 – 1-0 wins over Argentina, Uruguay and Cameroon – and he was named in the line-up once more against Panama.
Brazil were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw but Firmino showed his high technical ability in one moment with a stunning lay-off for Lucas Paqueta.
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Firmino getting a run of starts for Brazil
Firmino bagged a career-best 27 goals for Liverpool last term and, despite what some people are saying, is enjoying another decent season in 2018-19.
The 27-year-old has recorded 13 goals and five assists in 38 matches so far, but what sets him apart from so many number nines in the world is his all-round game.
Liverpool’s centre-forward has no trouble linking up play, dropping deep, creating chances for others, and he showed this in the draw with Panama.
Firmino’s stunning touch during Brazil 1-1 Panama
Firmino was alongside Philippe Coutinho and Richarlison in Brazil’s front three, and in the 59th-minute, Alex Telles whipped a cross into the box.
As you can see below, Telles’ delivery was fired into Firmino, yet he had the quality to produce a truly perfect touch and the vision to set up Paqueta, who opened the scoring in the friendly.
Firmino, who’s scored eight goals in 30 international caps, was replaced by Gremio’s Everton on the hour-mark, the same time at which Jesus was introduced for Paqueta.
Brazil will be desperate for a victory on Tuesday and Firmino is hoping to keep his place in Tite’s XI when the Selecao play a wounded Czech Republic.
How high do YOU rate Firmino’s touch against Panama? Do YOU think he should always be in Brazil’s starting XI? Drop YOUR thoughts in the comments box below!