The World Cup fever has already hit the football fanatics across the globe and the players are thriving to deliver their absolute best in country colours following yet another rousing club campaign. This year’s edition has already seen the heavyweights like Italy, Netherlands and Chile failing to make it to the finals whereas the minnows Panama, Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt have already made their nations proud defying the odds. Like every other World Cup, the football giants Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain and reigning champions Germany are entering the competition as favourites if you are going by World Cup odds. However, this event in Russia will be an occasion of resurgence for the Selecao, the record 5-time champions, to script a revenge of last term’s shambles and battle it out to conquer the silverware for the first time since 2002.
Brazil were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semis four years back and the dismal show in their own backyard received heavy criticism. But the country saw a massive uplift since the appointment of Tite a couple of years back and the rise of a few individuals in past four years transformed them into potential world beaters once more.
Brazil, a member of the South American football federation (CONMEBOL), maintained their sheer dominance throughout the qualifiers and finished ten points clear on top ahead of the runners-up Uruguay. Although they are set to miss out veteran Dani Alves through injury, Tite has a star-studded squad travelling to Russia and the superstars like Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, and Gabriel Jesus have once again made them a rejuvenated force favourite to lift the title.
The gaffer has mostly preferred a 4-3-3 setup but also chose to field them in a 4-1-4-1 pattern at times. The warm-up fixtures are mostly to try out the options as well as formations, however, Tite is believed to stick to a 4-3-3 as Neymar’s return from injury makes this formation more relevant than the other.
Gabriel Jesus fits in Tite’s set-up over Roberto Firmino due to his preference of playing a ‘number 9’ whereas Neymar and Willian are likely to accompany the Manchester City youngster in the attacking third. Coutinho will be operating from behind alongside Paulinho and the Barca duo will have their cover in midfield in form of Casemiro who will be marshalling the back four of Danilo, Thiago Silva, Miranda, and Marcelo. Alisson Becker of AS Roma will retain his place between the sticks ahead of Manchester City ‘number 1’ Ederson.
Although Brazil have quality backups in Douglas Costa, Roberto Firmino, Fred and Marquinhos, the above-discussed names are likely to make it to Tite’s starting XI in Russia.
Despite having a plethora of superstars of football in their team, all eyes will be on Brazil’s ‘Poster Boy’ Neymar who had a heartbreak in the previous edition following a severe injury during the quarter-final fixture against Colombia which brought an abrupt ending to his World Cup dreams. A metatarsal injury ruled him out for months very recently, however, he is now back in action and celebrated his return with a wonder goal versus Croatia at Anfield last week. The hopes will be high once more from the Paris Saint-Germain attacker who is tipped to make it his World Cup if manages to stay fit throughout the campaign.
Brazil have been drawn alongside Costa Rica, Serbia, and Switzerland in Group E. The opponents are quite close to each other but the Selecao are much more superior on paper and should make it to the knock-out stages as table toppers. They will have to contest the heavyweights one after another in later rounds but should do well to justice the hype as serious title contenders.
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