Now the season has ended all roads lead to Rio, and we will be doing a team by team guide to the World Cup – including Squads, Tactics, Odds and more! Our first team, as it should be, is Brazil. We will only do the article once the 23 main squad is announced for each team, and at the moment there are around 10, but we start with the hosts.
GK’s: Julio Cesar, Jefferson, Victor
DF’s: Marcelo, Dani Alves, David Luiz, Maicon, Thiago Silva, Maxwell, Dante, Henrique
MF’s: Paulinho, Oscar, Willian, Ramires, Fernandinho, Hernanes, Luiz Gustavo
FW’s: Neymar, Fred, Jo, Hulk, Bernard
Coach – Luiz Felipe Scolari
There were some big players to miss out on the squad, including Lucas Moura – PSG’s £30m star, Phillipe Coutinho and Lucas Leiva from Liverpool as well as Robinho and Kaka from AC Milan.
Brazil did not qualify since the hosts do not usually compete in the qualifying stage, although UEFA will now put France in the Quals for 2016 apparently…rather pointless.
Ones to Watch/Key Players:
Willian – The man had an excellent season with Chelsea, scoring many a goal and assisting plenty, with his defensive work being one of the reasons he was so highly praised. On the wing he will be a key man for Brazil – if he fails to beat a man and create like he has been doing this season, Brazil could struggle to break down the likes of Mexico and Croatia.
Neymar – Brazil have always had a world class striker to rely on in World Cups. Whether it be Ronaldo. Edmundo, Rivaldo or even the talents of Fred. This is Neymar’s first World Cup, and his stock has never been higher, with him just completing a season with Barcelona. Brazil score goals from all over the place, but Neymar is their main man and will be expected to fire.
Thiago Silva – The PSG star will be their rock at the back, and whereas David Luiz or Dante may have a little flair and try play it around, his key requirement will be providing the keeper with a reliable relationship. Brazilians often get caught on the ball trying to do too much, but he will have to keep it simple and let the players further forward do their job.
(4-3-3/4-2-3-1): Jefferson, Alves, Silva, Luiz, Marcelo, Ramires, Hernanes, Oscar, Willan, Neymar, Hulk.
A very strong lineup – Goalkeepers may be different, Cesar is playing in America so I cannot see him being picked, Jeffersen is the form keeper at the moment so we do expect him in the lineup. Silva is a given, unsure weather Luiz or Dante will partner him. With Luiz being a little better on the ball yet just as good from set pieces, we see him starting alongside Silva. Fernandinho has not featured for them often, and with the form of new Inter signing Hernanes, we think he will get the nod over Luiz Gustavo and Fernandinho.
To Win – 3/1
Group Winner – 1/4
Over 7.5 Group Points – Evens
Exact Group Points – 9 – 6/4
There is no doubt that Brazil will get out of the Group, and at least to a quarter final – but I think that in the hunt to toughen players up a little in exchange they have lost a little flair, and with the every increasing and improving negative tactics from unfavoured teams, I can see them being beaten by an Argentina, Germany or Spain type team who are equally adept at playing Tiki-Taka football as it is now known, or total football in Lehmann’s terms. In their favour, other teams will not be used to playing in conditions like they have in Brazil – so for that reason I see a Semi Final appearance minimum.
Top Tip – 9 Group Points (6/4)