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World Cup 2018: does Brazil stand a chance?

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In 2014, Brazil, who were the favourites to win the competition for the fifth time in their history, fell short of the football world’s expectations.

Even though they managed to reach the semi-final, the memory of the dramatic encounter where they were eviscerated 7 – 1 by Germany is still vivid. For the host nation, the World Cup came to an even more bitter end when they were defeated by the Netherlands in the third-place play-off and said goodbye to the podium.
But does Brazil stand a chance in 2018?

It didn’t take long for sports enthusiasts and bookmakers to start speculating and 2018 World Cup betting odds were released a day after Germany won the 2014 championship.
Bookmakers like Ladbrokes or William Hill estimate the odds of Brazil to win at 8/1-likewise for Spain and Argentina -, but well behind the German title holders, the favorite with odds of 5/1.
But these odds seem pretty generous if we consider all the challenges the Brazilian team is facing.

Firstly, the team’s dependency on Neymar is much too strong. During the World Cup, the 22-year-old player carried Brazil’s hopes on his shoulders and two years on not much has changed. This was painfully obvious during Copa America where a Neymar-less Brazil were beaten by Paraguay after taking the lead. It was the first time since 1953 that they have lost to their South American neighbours after having scored first! This situation is worrying for a first-class international team, especially since none of the others rely on one player more than Brazil do on Neymar.

Secondly, the Auriverde lack some other first-class players, especially when it comes to their offense: Douglas Costa is more of a mid-fielder than a striker and the next generation of players is rather slow to arrive. However, according to many, PSG star Lucas Moura has matured in Europe and returned a better player. Could salvation come from the Brazilian forward?

And last but not least, the Brazilians are facing another huge question mark with Thiago Silva. It is unclear whether he will be part of the World Cup adventure, even though he seems to have overcome his demons and is back to his best level for now.


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