Once again Brazil is going into the World Cup as the front-runner to win the title – and here are five very good reasons why
5 – Strong bench
Brazil has suffered from many weak points in recent World Cup failures, and the main problems were certainly found in the quality of the starting lineup. However, another big weakness was the lack of strong options on the bench capable of changing a game.
When Brazil was trailing against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals in 2010, Carlos Dunga had no wildcard to use. His options were the likes of Julio Baptista and Grafite, while Ronaldinho and Adriano did not make the squad. This time around, the gap between starters and substitutes isn’t even big. For example, Casemiro and Fernandinho are equally good options in defensive midfield, and so are Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus upfront.
4 – The Neymar factor
There is no doubt that Neymar is already among the top three players in the world, but some even go as far as labelling him as the best footballer at the international level. Has there been a player who has performed better for his country over the past few years, than the Paris Saint Germain star?
He made his presence felt in his return from injury after almost four months on the sidelines, as a moment of magic from him was enough to fool the Croatian defence and score an amazing solo goal. If he does that in the World Cup, the opponents will certainly have a very hard time containing Brazil.
3 – Defensive solidity
While Brazil is famous for its deadly attacking force, it often goes unnoticed how defensively resilient the back-line is proving to be.
With the team clearly conceding less clear-cut chances than we’ve been used to in recent years, and the ability to prevent the opponent from creating many goal-scoring chances, all you need is a moment of brilliance to snatch the winner. Now imagine if it was a defensively-solid side with the ability to score an average of three goals…now that’s what you call, intimidating.
2 – Tite
Brazil was on the verge of making history, but for the wrong reasons, around two years ago as the country was set to miss-out on the FIFA World Cup for the first time ever. But then, Corinthians boss Tite resigned and signed for the national team, proving to be the saviour, as he would guide them to a first-place finish in the qualifiers while building a cohesive unit along the way.
The Seleção is henceforth rejuvenated and playing modern football with a clear style of play. The former Libertadores and Club World Cup champion will be looking to guide his country to glory on Russian soil.
1 – Playing as a team
Brazil always had the potential to beat any side in the world. Heck, even Scolari’s team managed to convince football fans, prior to the 2014 World Cup, that his side would be able to defeat the likes of Germany.
However, it only takes the injury of Neymar to destroy the chances of triumph. It seems like the team was totally dependent on the Santos product over the past six years. But with Tite taking charge, Brazil is playing passing football and depending on the group rather than on one individual. Now, of course, Neymar will always be special but individuals don’t win major titles on their own. Brazil had to learn this lesson sooner rather than later.