Tite of Brazil and Argentina’s Edgardo Bauza were both rushed in to their current posts in the middle of last year, with little time to prepare for six rounds of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
They fared very differently.
Tite put together six wins, taking Brazil from a lowly sixth to top of the table and virtually qualified for Russia.
There is no great pressure on the team as they prepare for the two rounds at the end of next month, when they face Uruguay away and Paraguay at home.
Bauza’s Argentina managed two wins, two draws and two defeats.
They now lie fifth, outside the automatic qualification places, with crunch games coming up at home to direct rivals Chile and away to Bolivia at the extreme altitude of La Paz.
The likely scenario when they visit Australia on 9 June is that Brazil will already be able to prepare for Russia, while Argentina will have a dogfight ahead of them in September and October's final four qualifiers.
Bauza has only had those six games in charge. Tite’s Brazil had a friendly against Colombia last month, the fundraiser for the Chapecoense air disaster, but this was a pre-season game in which he was restricted to domestically based players.
Tite, then, might relish the opportunity to try little experiments and variations – some of which could be important in terms of the World Cup.
He has surely taken on board one of the lessons of 2014, when coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, happy with the side that won the Confederations Cup, showed too much loyalty to a side that peaked too soon.
And Bauza will still be looking for a collective formula that makes his team less dependent on flashes of individual genius from Lionel Messi.
There are precious few opportunities for friendlies once the Russia 2018 qualifiers are finished.
No chance, then, can be wasted.
The MCG crowd should see a game to appeal to both the heart and the head.