Brazil ready to lay the ghost of 2014 to rest

B y Josh Knox

Why they can win

Brazil is a squad full of immense talent from some of the biggest teams going around in club football and that is evident from the calibre of players left out of the squad. Brazil will be out to avenge their last showing at the FIFA World Cup in 2014 when they were the host nation and had the weight of the world on their shoulders. The Brazilians were bundled out of the tournament by eventual champions Germany in an embarrassing 7-1 defeat at the semi-final stage. The side then endured a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands in the third-place play-off and in a tournament in which they were expected to win, ended up having to settle for fourth position.

The combinations Brazil have in their disposal in attack are endless with Phillipe Coutinho (Barcelona), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) and Neymar (Paris-Saint Germain) just being a few of the big names. Expect Brazil to score on a regular basis in the group stage with opponents. On top of that Brazil have lost just one of their past 21 international fixtures and will come into Russia with high hopes of winning their sixth World Cup.

Brazil will be able to enter this one without the title of favourites and expect them to flourish and have a deep run into the knockout phase at the very least.

What will stop them

This isn’t usually talked about as a reason a team won’t be able to win a major tournament but the biggest challenge Brazil will face is picking the right XI. Obviously, there are teams such as Germany, France and Argentina boasting the biggest names in world football also to contend with, but if manager Tite can put together the XI that plays the best together, Brazil should have too much artillery in their disposal.

With the goalkeeping and defensive positions somewhat locked down, it is the attack where it will be crucial to partner the right players together. With Neymar securing one of the front three positions, Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) is left fighting it out with Roberto Firmino for the lone striker role and Coutinho, Paulinho (Barcelona) and Douglas Costa (Juventus) going at it for the other wing position.

FIFA Ranking: 2

Coach: Tite (Adenor Leonardo Bacchi)

The squad

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Ederson, Cassio.

Defenders: Marcelo, Thiago Silva, Danilo, Filipe Luis, Marquinhos, Miranda, Pedro Geromel, Fagner.

Midfielders: Fernandinho, Paulinho, Casemiro, Philippe Coutinho, Willian, Renato Augusto, Fred.

Forwards: Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Douglas Costa, Taison.

Notable omissions : Dani Alves, Alex Sandro, David Luiz, Lucas, Hulk.

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