Brazil will kick off their 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign against Switzerland tonight at the Rostov Arena. With Serbia and Costa Rica the other two teams in the groups, 5-times World Champions are heavy favourites to top the group but must start the tournament on a positive note in order to erase the memories of that 7-1 humbling by Germany in 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final. Neymar will be the star attraction in the Brazilian squad and the majority of the pressure will be on him to lead this squad to their 6th World Cup win and cement his place among the greats of the game.
There is no doubt that the Brazilian squad this year is far stronger than what they had last time around and rightly go into the tournament as the favourites. In this article, we will look at the 5 reasons why Neymar and Brazil could win the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Squad totally revamped from that 7-1 defeat against Germany
It speaks volume of how far Brazil has come in the last 4 years, that only 4 players – 2 starters and 2 substitutes from that 7-1 defeat against Germany remain still with the Brazilian squad. Neymar missed that encounter and so did defensive leader Thiago Silva. But what would make Brazil even more confident this time around is that the 4 players who played in that humiliating defeat in the semi-final have excelled hugely since then.
Fernandinho was a regular for Pep Guardiola’s historic EPL winning team recently, Marcelo has won 3 back-to-back Champions League titles, Willian has two Premier League titles to his name, while Paulinho just played a huge role for Barcelona’s La Liga winning campaign. Therefore any doubts that these players had over their ability after that match shouldn’t be there at all this summer as they look to not only erase that horrible night from their memory but write a new chapter in their countries footballing history.
Neymar is healthy
As we have mentioned above, Neymar missed that 7-1 humbling of Brazil by Germany but will enter 2018 FIFA World Cup with his fitness at its peak and will also be fully rested given that he missed last 4 months of the domestic season with PSG after suffering a long-term injury back in January.
Unlike many other players who are coming to Russia with a full season of action behind their back, Neymar will be fresh and raring to go. Given that he got on the scoresheet in his very first match after returning from injury would have pleased the Brazilian camp, who are counting on him to lead them to the World Cup glory this season.
World Champions Pedigree
Given their rich history in the tournament and as the most successful team in the competition, Brazil will always enter as the favourites and this year they have a squad full of players who are capable of making them the best in the world. Although Brazil hasn’t won the World Cup since 2002, their record in international competitions has been pretty phenomenal, winning the three FIFA Confederations Cups (2005, ’09, ’13), two Copa America titles (2004, ’07) and have achieved medal position in each of the last 3 Olympics.
Brazil is one of the heavyweights in World football and are even ranked number 2 behind the Germans. They might not have won the World Cup for some time but have a winning pedigree not many teams can boast of.
Brazil’s incredible form
Brazil comes into the tournament on a very good run, they have won their last 4 matches scoring 9 matches and conceding 0. They even defeated Germany 1-0 in an international friendly last year at the Olympiastadion. They even played a friendly against Russia in Moscow to get the taste of the atmosphere and won that match comfortably 3-0. It is important for a team chasing World Cup glory to go into the tournament high on confidence and with the winning momentum behind them and Brazil have just that. It will be important for them to be confident in their abilities as they look to take one team at a time on their way to reaching the July 15th Final in Moscow. Even the Group handed over to Brazil is a pretty straight forward one and it’s hard to see them being pushed too far before the knockout round.
Neymar’s support cast
As we have mentioned above the Brazilian team has gone through a big revamp since that dreadful semi-final against Germany. Gabriel Jesus who was painting the streets in preparation for the World Cup last time around will now be leading the line for the country. Coutinho comes into the tournament in good form after starting slowly at Barcelona following his big-money move in January from Liverpool. Firmino is coming off a hugely successful season, where he reached the Champions League Final with Liverpool and scored a total of 27 goals and made 17 assists. In Allison, the team has one of the best goalkeepers in the World Cup, who could find himself between the sticks at Bernabeu next season. Therefore, it’s clear that Neymar has the required pieces this time to attain World Cup glory that hasn’t been forthcoming since 2002.
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