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Russia 2018: Brazil aim to restore past glory

During the World Cup 2014 at their home, Brazil were decimated by Germany in the semi-final 7-1. The third-place play-off fixture was no better, as the Dutch put three past them and claimed bronze with ease

Given their proud history and superb recent form, it comes as little surprise that Brazil will be among the favourites to win the FIFA World Cup when the tournament begins on June 14.

Take a look at Brazil’s World Cup squad and the other things it will be handy to know about the five-time winners:-



SQUAD

GOALKEEPERS: Alisson (Roma), Ederson (Manchester City), Cassio (Corinthians).

DEFENDERS: Danilo (Manchester City), Fagner (Corinthians), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Silva, Marquinhos (both Paris St-Germain), Miranda (Inter Milan) Pedro Geromel (Gremio).

MIDFIELDERS: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Barcelona), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Willian (Chelsea), Douglas Costa (Juventus).

FORWARDS: Neymar Jr (Paris St-Germain), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).


TITE (COACH)

Brazil’s transformation since Tite arrived in June 2016 has been nothing short of remarkable. Sixth in the CONMEBOL standings when he took over, they won nine consecutive games to become the first side to join hosts Russia at the finals. Tite will hope to emulate his FIFA Club World Cup 2012 title with Corinthians in Russia.


STAR PLAYER – NEYMAR

A FIFA Confederations Cup winner and Olympic gold medallist, Neymar is set to make his second appearance at a World Cup. The Paris Saint-Germain star also won the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup title with former club Barcelona.


BIGGEST STRENGTH

Brazil’s greatest quality is the fact the team doesn’t rely on Neymar as heavily as in the 2014 World Cup, when its game depended on the player’s individual moves.

Surely Neymar is important — he is the key player — but today, the group surpasses the individual. This change became clear from the moment Tite took over the national team. With a new coach and a new game, Neymar was given more freedom to play and the team became an actual team.


BIGGEST WEAKNESS

It is hard to talk about weaknesses when you have a balanced team. They do exist, though. There are three points to focus and the first one is tactical. Dani Alves and Marcelo are wingers with attacking abilities who like to play forward and are essential in making things happen. Therefore, extra caution is required for these spaces not to be explored by the opposition.

Second is experience, not in terms of each player but the team itself up against elite rivals. Brazilian players under Tite’s command had few tests against the top teams on the planet. Third is Neymar. His foot injury has left him out of the game since Feb. 26. How will he be after all this time off the pitch? Again, Brazil doesn’t rely only on him, but the thought of playing without their star is, to say the least, worrying.


HAVE THEY BEEN TRULY TESTED YET?

Tite’s team was magnificent against a disappointing crop of South American rivals, but stiffer tests lie ahead. That point was illustrated by the collapse of Argentina’s defence against Nigeria on the same day Brazil were held by an inexperienced England side.

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