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Sambafoot Sunday: Why Brazil might not win the World Cup

Brazil are widely considered the favourites to win this summer’s World Cup on home soil. Playing the role of devil's advocate, here are some reasons why they might not.

Sambafoot Sunday by James Nalton. The beat goes on...

Overly attacking full-backs

Dani Alves and Marcelo could be the only players offering true width in the Brazilian attack, but as a result of their forays forward they inevitably abandon their defensive duties.

Many teams prefer to use an attacking full-back on one side, with one who’s slightly more defensively minded on the other, but both of Brazil's full backs would be considered to be attack minded players.

In some games Scolari might instruct the pair to be more wary of their defensive position, but with space in front of them left vacant by attacking team-mates cutting inside, the temptation to roam will always be there.

A lack of attacking balance

Neymar is undoubtedly the star of the show for Brazil, and Scolari has spent the last few friendlies working out where best to deploy him. Whilst he’ll often start games drifting inside from an attacking position on the left, he’s recently looked more effective playing through the middle in and around Fred.

Neymar’s role dictates the rest of the attacking set-up, with Oscar being shifted around to accommodate the number ten. Oscar’s productivity has dropped of late, but he’ll work hard for the team regardless of his attacking form.

Willian and Hulk have been used in the wide positions, with the latter linking up well with Neymar for a goal which was wrongly disallowed for offside in the friendly against Serbia.

The attacking balance needs to be built around Neymar, but not at the expense of the other talented players around him. If this balance can’t be achieved then Brazil, and Neymar, could struggle.

Carelessness in defence

When you have an array of attacking talent in your team, it’s sometimes easy to switch off in defence. Luckily Brazil have one of the best defenders in the world in the shape of Thiago Silva, but he’s heavily relied upon to organise the back four and cover for others.

David Luiz, and to a lesser extent Dante, have a tendency to switch off at times, and there was an example in the Serbia friendly of Luiz’s volatile tendencies as he was involved in a mix-up with Thiago Silva.

Despite this, the pair have never been on a losing side for Brazil under Scolari, but there’s a first time for everything...

Translates as: Thiago Silva and David Luiz have never lost when playing together under Scolari. 12 games (10 wins and 2 draws)

Overwhelming pressure and expectation

Scolari’s players seem to be taking things in their stride, and the character of the group is one of the reasons he picked the squad he did rather than bring in supposed better players who might not fit in.

However, having won the last nine friendlies during World Cup preparation, their mettle has rarely been tested, and should they falter at some point in the tournament it’ll be interesting to see if they can pick themselves up.

It's also a massive tournament for the Brazilian fans, and they'll make sure they let the team know if they're not happy.

The fans in São Paulo weren't afraid to boo the side when they thought the players weren't up to scratch in the recent friendly in the city, and this criticism could pose another problem for the players.


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