Brazil star Neymar hinted he might quit international footbal, saying he could not “100 percent” guarantee he would play for the national team again while Tite confirmed that it was the “end of a cycle” for him as coach after the favourites were dumped out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals on penalties by Croatia on Friday.
The 61-year-old, who has been in charge since 2016, had previously made it no secret that he would leave the position after the tournament in Qatar, regardless of the outcome.
“It is a painful defeat but I go in peace. It is the end of a cycle,” he told reporters after Brazil’s dramatic exit from the competition at Doha’s Education City Stadium.
“I already said that a year and a half ago. I didn’t come here to win and then turn around and say I was going to stay. People who know me know that.”
After a goalless 90 minutes, Brazil took the lead through Neymar midway through extra time only for Bruno Petkovic to equalise for Croatia in the 117th minute.
That meant penalties, and Rodrygo’s first kick for Brazil was saved by Croatia’s man of the match Dominik Livakovic.
With Croatia scoring four penalties, Marquinhos had to convert when he stepped up for Brazil, only to hit the post.
Tite had already overseen a quarter-final exit at the hands of Belgium at the last World Cup in Russia four years ago.
In between, Brazil won the Copa America on home soil in 2019 but then lost the final of that tournament as hosts to Argentina last year.
The Brazilian Football Confederation has previously said it will not choose its next coach until January.
Asked to assess his time in charge Tite said: “In time I will be able to respond better.
“I am not in a position now to evaluate all the work we have done, but as time goes by you will be able to make that assessment.
“I don’t have the capacity to do that now after we have been eliminated.”
Meanwhile, Tite was asked why Neymar did not step up to take Brazil’s fourth penalty instead of Marquinhos when they had to score just to stay alive in the shoot-out.
“Because he takes the fifth and decisive penalty,” he explained.
“The player with the most quality and the right mentality steps up when there is the most pressure.”
Neymar never got the chance to take a penalty, having earlier equalled Pele’s record of 77 goals for the Brazilian team.
It is just the second time Brazil have lost a penalty shoot-out at the World Cup, after they were beaten by France in the same way at the quarter-final stage of the 1986 tournament in Mexico.
“When you lead 1-0 in extra time and then you concede the equaliser 13 minutes into the second half of extra time it is difficult,” Tite said of his team’s state of mind going into the shoot-out.
“It is difficult to stay mentally strong in a situation like that.”
Speaking after his side’s World Cup quarter-final defeat in Qatar, the Paris Saint-Germain superstar suggested he could step away.
“I am not closing any doors on the national team but I am also not guaranteeing 100 percent that I will return,” said an emotional Neymar, 30.
“I need to think a bit more about this, about what is the right thing for me and for the national team.”
Neymar equalled Pele’s record tally of 77 goals for Brazil with a brilliant strike on Friday but Bruno Petkovic levelled with minutes remaining.
The Brazilian did not take a penalty in the shootout. Rodrygo’s effort was saved by Dominik Livakovic and Marquinhos hit the post, while Croatia scored all four of their efforts to win the shootout 4-2.
Four years ago in Russia Neymar and Brazil suffered elimination at the same stage at the hands of Belgium.
In 2014 the Selecao were humiliated 7-1 in the semi-finals by Germany without Neymar, who missed the game with an injury.
“It is an awful feeling, I think this is a worse feeling than what happened at the last World Cup,” said Neymar. “It is difficult to find the words to describe this moment.
“We fought and I am proud of my teammates, proud of the character they showed to step up and take penalties.”