There is no denying what Brazil are capable of. Already establishing themselves as one of the best international football teams in the world, they invite a plethora of talent into their home land to compete for the illustrious World Cup trophy, where the winner will be decided at the Maracana on the13th July. With the home support behind them, do Brazil have what it takes to win when it matters?
Lets look at their form from the past year. Whilst others have been shedding blood, sweat and tears to secure their plane tickets to Brazil, what have Brazil themselves been doing? Noticeably, their top achievement has to be the winning of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013. Hosted on their home soil, Brazil fought off tough opposition in the group stages to advance to the semi-finals, where they beat Uruguay and eventually brushed aside defending World Cup Champions Spain (a taste of what’s to come?). Playing 5 and winning 5, Brazil demonstrated that with home support behind them, they can defeat the best of the best.
What about their run-up of friendly matches going into this year’s World Cup? Well, they’ve played a total of 10 international friendlies, winning 9 and losing just the once against the team ranked 6th in the world, Switzerland. A surprise loss perhaps, but an influx of goals from Neymar in this time makes their 6-0 drubbing of Australia, and 5-0 wins over Honduras and South Africa, sound a bit more impressive. Whilst we’re on the subject of Neymar, he did win player of the competition at the FIFA Confederations Cup (unsurprisingly!)
So what can we learn about Brazil over the past year? They’re ready to win it, and ready to stop the trophy departing its boarders on a plane elsewhere. Wherever there is Neymar, there will be goals, and he’s got the perfect teammates in Hulk, Oscar and Willian to provide him with the service he needs. And there defence isn’t looking to bad either, with £50m PSG summer signing David Luiz and his new club allay Thiago Silva guarding the Brazilian goal.
The question is not who is going to win this year’s tournament, the real question is who’s going to take it from Brazil?
Brazil Squad: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Atletico Mineiro), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (AS Roma), Maxwell (PSG), Thiago Silva (PSG), David Luiz (PSG), Dante (Bayern Munich), Henrique (Napoli), Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur), Ramires (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea), Hernanes (Inter Milan), Luiz Gustavo (VfL Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Neymar (Barcelona), Fred (Fluminense), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg)
Squad sourced: www.telegraph.co.uk