Brazil’s chances in the 2018 World Cup
Brazil are among the favourites to win the 2018 World Cup and it is no real surprise given their form over the past few years.
Qualification from the CONMEBOL section is always hard-fought but the Canarinho breezed through to Russia by finishing top of the table after winning 12 and drawing five of their 18 games.
A loss to Chile in their opening qualifier way back in October 2015 was the only time the South American giants tasted defeat, and they seem in safe hands with Tite at the helm.
The Copa América Centenario disaster in 2016, which saw previous coach Dunga sacked after Brazil failed to make it out of the group stage, now seems a long time ago, and they finished ten points clear of second-place Uruguay in the final standings.
Tite has got the team playing the Brazilian way, with the emphasis on attack and, with virtually the same squad as his predecessor, he turned them from a side lacking direction and belief into one that now plays in the opposition half and scores goals for fun.
It helps when you have the world’s most expensive player in the ranks and Neymar has certainly delivered for his boss.
The 25-year-old Paris Saint Germain striker has an incredible 53 goals from 83 international appearances and, if he stays fit enough over the next decade, will surely reach three figures in the famous yellow colours.
He managed six in qualification and is vital to Brazil’s chances next summer but with so many attacking options for Tite to call on, it is the proverbial embarrassment of riches.
Gabriel Jesus may be only 20 but has already come of age in the Premier League with Manchester City and he was Brazil’s top-scorer in qualifying with seven goals.
Paulinho hit six while Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Chelsea star Willian bagged four each and there will be much for the coach to ponder when he sits down to work out his best 11 for the world’s greatest tournament.
Other options for the 56-year-old former Corinthians coach include Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino while Renato Augusto is still very much part of the squad despite plying his trade in China with Beijing Guoan.
Opposition teams used to prey on the fact that Brazil were traditionally much better going forward than in defence but Tite seems to have that part of the field covered as well with PSG trio Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and captain Dani Alves set to form the basis of his rearguard.
With Inter Milan’s Miranda and Marcelo of Real Madrid also on hand, it is clear that the five-time World Cup winners are well served in that department.
The likes of Germany, Spain and France may well be the biggest threat to Brazil lifting the World Cup for the first time since 2002 and for those who fancy a flutter on the showpiece event check out the new UK bookmakers for all the best sites and prices available.
It would seem that Brazil have everything in place for World Cup glory, with an intelligent manager in charge of a talented and hard-working group of players.
Maybe the only thing that can stop them winning in Russia is the weight of expectation – which, as ever, will be huge.