Look Out World, Brazil’s Samba Boys Are Here

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    Updated: June 4, 2014
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    With the domestic campaigns over and all the national teams preparing for the greatest international tournament in the world, the World Cup, we can all look forward to what will no doubt be a wonderful spectacle. Some of the world’s greatest players will be in Brazil to strut their stuff with the intention of winning the coveted World Cup trophy.

    The South Americans have hosted the tournament before, and despite political unrest and concerns over their readiness to be hosts, the people of Brazil and their strong love for football will almost certainly provide an incredibly atmospheric backdrop to some great football.

    Of course, that depends on how well their national team does. If the Seleção fail to impose themselves, the usually rowdy and passionate supporters may become subdued as they watch another nation storm to the title in their own backyard.

    There are a few teams that stand out as natural favourites. Maybe Spain’s patience, precision and elegance will see them lift the trophy for the second successive tournament. Or perhaps it will be won by Germany’s ruthless speed and decisive efficiency in attack, or, given the climate in South America, maybe even an African nation can cause an upset, what with their raw power and stamina.

    Then there is Brazil’s quick, exciting, adroitly displayed aptitude for the beautiful side of the game that could possibly see them crowned winners for the 6th time in their history.

    Naturally of course, with the Brazilians having never won the tournament in their own country, the pressure will be at an all-time high and it will be up to the stars of today to deal with it and flourish.

    After their success at the Confederations Cup the expectancy will only increase. Fans and pundits will be looking at the current crop to play in the typical Brazilian way- with skill and style. In recent years the Brazilians have not possessed the best players and that has seen them drop in the rankings, falling below 10th for the first time ever. But the players they have at their disposal now are an exciting bunch.

    With possibly the world’s best centre-back Thiago Silva as their captain, and the exuberant Garrincha-cum-Ronaldinho incarnate Neymar playing with confidence, anything is possible. Not forgetting young talents such as Oscar, who is an intelligent and assured footballer, and Bernard, the diminutive talent. Plus the experience brought in by Fred and Maicon, among others, provides the balance.

    Things looked pretty bleak for Brazil after their defeat to Mexico in the final of the Olympics. They deservedly reached the final after an impressive tournament, but with Mano Menezes at the helm they seemed to stagnate. They appeared to have reached their zenith and weren’t really producing the scintillating performances that had created their brand of football that is synonymous with great football.

    However, their new boss Felipão, or Luiz Felipe Scolari as he’s more commonly known in England, has inculcated an indomitable edge to their game. Their football was very good at times under Menezes, but there is now a consistency and a stronger mentality.

    They were questioned against the bigger teams; people often believed they were flat-track bullies, incapable of dominating similarly rated sides. But a 3-0 win in the Confederations Cup Final against World Champions Spain dispelled that notion.

    There is no reason why the Brazilians cannot be successful. Looking at their current squad, it is not hard to fathom why the public will almost be demanding the trophy. And all hopes will be resting on the shoulders of one man: Barcelona’s superstar, Neymar.

    Neymar started brightly in Europe, despite a few poor performances towards the end of the season. His natural flair has fitted well with Barcelona’s system and the relationship he has with the ball has changed minds of some critics.

    He plays with the style and unpredictability of Ronaldinho, and the Kakà-esque Oscar’s ability to pull strings provides him with great support. The whole Brazil team works hard and Neymar is rapidly improving off the ball. He will spearhead their charge, and at just 21 years of age that is a lot to deal with, but he’s been dealing with pressure since he was 17 so don’t expect to see him flustered.

    It’s not just Brazil’s attack that makes them favourites. Their midfield is equally impressive. Despite them being renowned for possessing an attacking threat, they have often produced good, defensive players. Somewhat the antithesis of your archetypal Brazilian, some defenders from the South American country have been among the world’s best.

    Their World Cup winning sides of the past have all had strong defences that have allowed the attack to express themselves. In the defensive midifeld position they’ve often produced players who play a pivotal role yet seldom receive the plaudits. Hernanes, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Ramires and Luis Gustavo are the deepest midfield options, with Felipão currently opting for Paulinho and Gustavo.

    The midfield pairing work well together. Paulinho is a very powerful box-to-box midfielder capable of scoring goals; good in the air and strong in the tackle, whereas Gustavo plays a quieter role. Often shadowing his opponent and getting stuck in when required.

    In front of the two central midfielders, Neymar sits to the left and Oscar plays in behind the striker, while the right-wing spot is currently up for grabs. Hulk appears to be a favourite of Felipão’s, but Bernard is probably the better, more popular player.

    Bernard is a very tricky, quick, diminutive winger somewhat akin to Neymar. Willian’s move to Chelsea places him in a good position to be picked as well. After a good debut season under the tutelage of Mourinho, he won a well-deserved place in seleção’s 23-man squad.

    Up front is probably Brazil’s biggest weakness. They have had some fantastic strikers in the past, including the World Cup’s all-time top scorer, Ronaldo. The only two outright strikers for Brazil are former Manchester City man Jo, and Fluminense’s Fred.

    Neither are the standard you’d expect of Brazil’s number one forward, but the latter is a clinical finisher, strong and good in the air. He links well with Neymar, the man who will drive their charge for the famous trophy, so will probably get the spot.

    Defensively, Thiago Silva is expected to be the main man while the enigmatic David Luiz will presumably partner him. The former Chelsea centre-back isn’t a bad defender by any stretch. But his decision-making can be a bit suspect at times.

    Many pundits, analysts and football fans have slated his defensive intelligence, but alongside Thiago Silva he has been nothing short of impressive. Their differing playing characteristics have worked to form a strong partnership.

    Beyond the two PSG men, there is Henrique, a surprise inclusion, and Bayern’s Dante. The big-haired fellow only made his international debut last year, but has performed well when called upon and has gained a number of supporters from those performances.

    As is the norm in Brazil sides, either side of the centre-backs it’s almost a lawful obligation to have two surging full-backs. Nilton Santos, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, and of course Carlos Alberto, scorer of one of the tournaments most famous goals, all spring to mind. And Dani Alves and Marcelo continue the tradition.

    There may not be another left-back in world football more adept in advanced positions than Marcelo. He controls the ball and uses it like your typical winger/playmaker, but don’t let that get in the way of his defending. He’s a very good defender, and brazil’s back 4 as a unit works really well.      

                              

    Their squad is irrefutably strong. They play some of the best football. Their style of play is exciting, quick and most importantly it’s productive. Felipão joined Brazil after his work at Palmeiras eventually got them relegated, but he was national team manager when they won the World Cup in 2002 so he has the experience.

    Brazil will head into the tournament as strong favourites, more so with their own fans. The pressure is on to achieve a feat no other Brazilian side has managed: win a world cup in Brazil. It’s a possibility but other nations will all be vying for the crown.

    There are the favourites, and then there are some possible surprise packages. With all South American sides used to the warm climate, they may be in with the biggest shout. But talent always shines through, so the weather may not play a huge part at all.

    There is one thing that is for certain, this is going to be a fantastic tournament. The fans, the passion, and above all the football are the reasons why World Cup 2014 could be one of the best in history. And it will be even better if Brazil can do it in their own home.

    Can they win the World Cup? Yes.

    Will they win it? We’ll see.

     

    Ryan Goodenough is one of our amazing UK guest guest writers and he’s an expert in all things football and Arsenal. He has some of the best insight there is on World Futbol and his twitter account is a must follow: Follow @sidelinearsenal on Twitter

     

     

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