How Brazil Could Fare Against Their Competition At The World Cup 2018
As the 2018 World Cup in Russia rapidly approaches, there is a lot of attention surrounding the Brazilian 23-man squad. The Brazilian team have a lot to make up for after their last World Cup effort on home turf back in 2014, where they were seen walking away from the tournament in the semi-final after cup winners Germany thrashed them 7-1. Fast forward to four years later and the Brazilians have released an extremely strong squad and are set to be potential cup challengers. Here’s what we know.
The Brazilian national team have released their 23-man squad ready for the start of the World Cup and fans are rejoicing at the sheer number of exciting players included in the line-up, including players that could change the game at any second. Here’s who you can expect to see on the team:
The Top Players
Brazil’s biggest star Neymar Jr was rumoured to be ruled out of the squad due to an earlier injury when playing for PSG, but it’s since been said that he is fit to play and doing a lot better than first expected. There have even been reports that he’s training up, ready for the upcoming season.
At the other end of the pitch, however, there is still a battle for the number one spot between Manchester City’s distance distributor Ederson, who has had a fantastic first season in the English top flight, and AS Roma’s shot stopping superstar, Alisson Becker, who has also made a name for himself through both Roma’s league campaign and their champion’s league run. With Brazil and Germany as the bookies favourites with a 5/1 to win the tournament, Brazil need to utilise their top players to their full potential to get that edge they need.
Moving on to defence, there has been some unexpected exclusions, with some of the strongest players being left behind. Dani Alves has been ruled out due to an injury at PSG’s 2-0 title win against Les Herbiers back at the start of May. However, as Dani Alves moves out of the squad, Manchester City’s full-back Danilo moves in, although he’s certainly had a quiet season. Of course, as Danilo takes his place, there isn’t room for Juventus full-back Alex Sandro.
The centre back partnership looking to continue their run of title wins is PSG pairing Marquinhos and Thiago Silva, who have both picked up four pieces of silverware this season alone. Making an entrance and hoping to impress the fans is Gremio defender Pedro Geromel who has made 12 appearances for his club this season alone in the Brazilian first division.
From defence to midfield, the Brazilians will look to take advantage of recently transferred Barcelona midfield maestro, Coutinho. This star player has been directly involved in 39 goals in 49 games this season alone, bagging 26 for himself and supplying assists for 13 more. Real Madrid’s Casemiro is also named among the midfielders set to be taken to the World Cup, after making a name for himself in Madrid while playing four finals in his fourth season in the Liga Santander. Chelsea’s Willian is looking to take the World Cup by storm with his tricky footwork and precision set pieces, showing why he’d gained 14 goals and 8 assists to his name during his 2017/2018 campaign.
The Front Line
Finally, in terms of front men, the Brazilian team are looking to utilise Firmino’s skills in finishing, proven through one of his most successful premier league campaigns ever and, after helping Liverpool reach the champions league final, silenced critics who have previously questioned his ability to play the number 9 role. Juventus’ wizard winger Douglas Costa is also on the flight to the World Cup and as a player of pace and creativity, they will look to take advantage of his play on the wings. The young Gabriel Jesus who is only 21 has also earned his place amongst the Brazilian superstars. His season under Pep Guradiola got off to a shaky start through injury, but he later proved his ability as the season progressing, ultimately finishing the season with 19 goals to his tally and helping Manchester City raise the Premier League trophy, he also show cased his goal scoring ability in the qualifying stages as Brazils top goal scorer with 7 goals.
Brazil is joined by Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia in group E for the first stage of the World Cup. You can check out all the other world cup groups and fixtures here.
The First Game
Brazil’s first game in Group E is against European side Switzerland, at which the former are looking to utilise their player’s fitness. Both teams are going into this game unbeaten in their previous four games and will be both contending for their first win of the tournament. Although Brazil’s squad depth is a strength and the calibre of players will certainly make them favourites, the Swiss have players who like to take control of the game themselves, with the likes of Granit Xhaka protecting the back four and looking to take advantage of his hammer of a left boot, which has seen him net 4 goals for the Gunners this season.
Furthermore, Stokes superstar Shaqiri is among the players Brazil won’t allow time on the ball, striking 8 gaols and 7 assist in an underwhelming season for the reds. Both of these teams are the most likely to progress to the later rounds in the competition, however Serbia and Costa Rica shouldn’t be ruled out. After all, we’ve seen strong performances by both nations which earned them their rightful place in Russia.
The Second Game
Brazil’s second game in the competition is against North American team Costa Rica. Costa Rica will be led by Real Madrid goalkeeping guru Keylor Navas, who is one of the goalkeepers looking to obtain that special golden glove trophy. Leading the front line is Betis-loaned striker Joel Campbell who has had a relatively quiet season away from the Emirates, bagging only 2 goals in his underwhelming 8 games for the La Liga Santander side. The two teams have met before back in September of 2015, where the Brazilians scraped a 1-0 victory against the Costa Ricans. The only goal scorer was Hulk, who currently plays for Shanghai SIPG and isn’t mentioned among the players attending the World Cup. Both teams will be looking to gain a victory during their second game in the group stages, with Brazil once again being the favourites by bookies 1/4 and Costa Rica with a 16/1 to win.
The Final Group Stage
The Brazilians will face their final group stage game against European side Serbia. Serbia haven’t had any successful World Cup campaigns in the past, so they will be looking to make history when they visit Russia this summer but for those looking to bet on Serbia, you might need to look for Asian handicap bets! The Serbians have filled their squad with experience over youth as they try to fulfil their World Cup dream. Leading their front line is Newcastle striker Mitrović, who has had a relatively quiet season away from the Geordies on loan to Championship side Fulham. Ex-Manchester City fullback, now Roma defender, Aleksander Kolarov will also be helping the Serbians defend against the Brazilians using his experience to his advantage.
Holding the Serbian team together in the core is Manchester United midfielder Matic, who scored a venomous strike in the FA Cup final against Chelsea and will be looking to use his distance shooting and hold up play to secure a win for the Serbians. Brazil’s previous game against Serbia ended in a 1-0 win to the Green and Yellows with the only goal being bagged by Shakhtar Donetsk striker Fred, who is named amongst the 23 going to the world cup. Will he strike again?
With five World Cup titles to their name, Brazil’s chances of winning the World Cup remain very likely. Regardless of the competition they are competing in, they are never ruled out. Through strong squad depth filled with players that individually know how to run a game, but who also crucial team players, their team gels well together every time. Fan favourite Neymar will be looking to help pull his team to victory this year and showcase why he is worth the €220Million that Paris Saint Germain paid for him. Will they fulfil their potential or will they slip in the Semis and repeat history that haunts them from the world cup in 2014.