With the greatest sporting spectacle just a few weeks away, we at Daily Vedas look at the host nation,Brazil and their chances of winning the Football World Cup for a 6th time.
The return of Big Phil , Luiz Felipe Scolari has been seen as a positive sign from the quarters who have known Brazilian football for all its flair and attacking prowess. Big Phil has won 70% of the games in his second stint as Brazil coach having earlier led Brazil to the trophy in 2002 and would be hoping to do the same this time around in front of the home crowd. Expectations will be at an all-time high since the tournament is being hosted in Brazil.
The team that would be gearing up for the world cup looks to be selected from the following list of players: GK : Julio Cesar, Jefferson. Defenders: Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Dante, Rafinha. Midfielders: Ramires, Oscar, Paulinho, Luiz Gustavo, Bernard, Fernandinho, Willian. Forwards: Neymar, Hulk, Jo, Fred.
The team consists of a mix of prodigies and seasoned veterans, the likes of Neymar and Oscar are present for their attacking prowess. Brazil are not just all about attack and are blessed with defenders like Dante, David Luiz and Thiago Silva, who would be captaining the side. Fred and Jo would be the players which would raise the most eyebrows, does Brazil not have better attackers than the stated players who are both playing in the Brazilian league and could be well past their prime? Even “The Hulk” is very inconsistent, more often playing like Bruce Banner rather than the green monster that he is named after. The onus could fall all on the young but talented shoulders of Neymar, who may not be having the best season at Barcelona but has sparkled in the Yellow and Green of Brazil.
Scolari will be hoping to recapture the World Cup once again with his team, after the pragmatic Dunga period where a lot of people criticized the way the team played, Big Phil certainly has brought back a smile in the way his team plays. He has a lot of experience having coached Portugal and Chelsea amongst other high profile jobs. He would be hoping to do better than the quarterfinal stage which they reached in 2010. He has already led the team to the Confederations Cup in Brazil, a precursor to the World Cup after beating Spain in the final.
The Brazilian team is littered with stars and we try to pick out some of the key players who could be vital to helping the Selecao win another World Cup:
- Neymar: Was there really any doubt this player’s name would be on the top of the list? Although there is quite a lot of speculation as to what his real value was when he was sold to Barcelona from Santos, there is no denying that he is a talented footballer. Only 22 years old, he has already scored 30 goals for his country in just 47 games. Yes, there is talk that he goes down too easily but he does have the skills to beat anyone easily.
- Oscar:If Jose Mourinho believes in a player and is willing to sell his star player (Mata) to a rival, you know there is something special about him. Oscar has been in fine form for Chelsea this season having scored 11 goals in 30 appearances for Chelsea. The midfielder will be looking forward to linking up with Neymar to create some Samba Magic.(Sorry I could not resist putting that in)
- Thiago Silva:The defensive rock, he will need to be at his best like he has been at PSG for the past 2 seasons. The captain of the side will be looking to keep attackers at bay; he has been consistently voted among the best central defenders in Europe. Even the legendary Italian defender Franco Baresi believes Silva is the defender who resembles his style of play the most and Silva will be out to prove Baresi right by taking his team to glory.
Scolari would most likely go with a 4-3-3 formation for the World cup. An attacking trio of Neymar, Hulk and Jo to lead from the front. A midfield trio of Oscar, Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo, this can always change with the abundance of talent that is present in the team. The back four of Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Dani Alves and Marcelo would look to keep teams out, while Julio Cesar would be keeping goal.
Strengths and weaknesses:
Going forward is the strength for this Brazilian team, which has been the case for most Brazilian teams that we have seen over the years. They have scored 52 goals in the 20 games Scolari has been in charge off. The midfield is filled with talent as well, so the likes of Neymar and Hulk will be fed a lot of chances to score goals. Luiz Gustavo has been a rock for Bayern Munich and would look to continue doing his best for the Selecao. The worry is that if either Neymar or Hulk get injured or suspended, who would they be replaced by? Also the defense may not be the tightest with the likes of Dani Alves, Marcelo and Rafinha constantly bombing forward, they could be susceptible at the back, especially with their keeper Julio Cesar who has been keeping goal for Toronto FC in the MLS.
Brazil have been handed a reasonable draw and should easily top Group A with the likes of Croatia probably being their toughest match. They would face the runner up from Group B, which could well be Spain or Holland(playing Holland would be a repeat of the 2010 quarter finals which Brazil lost). Although there are no easy games in this tournament, Brazil will be going into the this full of confidence, not only will they be backed by the home crowd, they have also won 13 of their last 14 matches. This run of form also includes a 3-0 drubbing of World Champions Spain in the Confederations Cup Final. If they produce that sort of display, winning the World Cup will be no problem.