Brazil aiming for World Cup redemption in Russia
Brazil head to the World Cup in Russia this summer aiming to put the bitter memories of 2014 firmly behind them.
The Samba Kings had high hopes of winning the tournament on home soil four years ago, but Germany’s 7-1 demolition job in the semi-finals brutally ended their hopes of success.
The result had a lasting impact on Brazil and Dunga’s return as manager after the World Cup failed to spark a revival in their fortunes.
Tite took over from Dunga in 2016 and he quickly turned things around. Brazil were the first national team to qualify for the tournament and ended up top of the South American qualifying group.
Brazil are strongly fancied to win the trophy for a sixth time, but check out these World Cup betting offers before wagering on the outcome.
The South Americans have won the World Cup five times, more than any other nation, but they haven’t lifted the famous trophy for 16 years.
Their team boasts a strong array of attacking talent, with Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar the undoubted jewel in their crown.
The 25-year-old has not played since February after having surgery on a broken metatarsal bone in his right foot, which he suffered while playing for PSG against Marseille.
The world's most expensive player looks set to make his comeback on June 3 for Brazil in their warm-up match against Croatia, with their opener in Russia two weeks later against Switzerland.
Brazil will also face Costa Rica and Serbia during the first stage of the tournament and it would be a major surprise if they failed to top the group.
Switzerland qualified for the World Cup after finishing second in their group, behind Portugal, on goal difference.
The Swiss went on to beat Northern Ireland in the play-offs thanks to a controversial penalty from AC Milan full-back, Rico Rodriguez.
Costa Rica were one of the surprise packages at the 2014 World Cup. They beat both Uruguay and Italy in the group stage, before England held them to a 0-0 draw.
They edged past Greece in the first knockout stage, but their run eventually came to an end against the Netherlands.
Costa Rica finished second in the CONCACAF qualifying group behind Mexico for this summer’s tournament and their talented side could be Brazil’s biggest challengers in the opening round.
Serbia won their qualification group fairly comfortably, but they haven’t progressed to the last 16 of the World Cup since 1998.
The Brazilians scored 41 goals in qualification and they are expected to be one of the best sides competing in Russia.
The 7-1 result against Germany will probably serve as motivation, as will the $38 million prize fund on offer to the winners, and they look a decent bet at odds of around 9/2 to gain redemption this summer.