The most successful nation in the history of the FIFA World Cup, five-time champions Brazil will be looking to add a sixth World Cup title to their collection this summer when they travel to Russia, and if you look at the squad they will be bringing with them, it is hard to imagine them not going all the way. With a youthful, energetic and creative attack in the likes of Neymar, Phillipe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firminho, complemented by an experienced defence consisting of Thiago Silva, Marcelo and Dani Alves, Brazil look like a force to be reckoned with.
Although Brazil got off to a bad start, being in sixth place in the qualifying group with a third of the campaign gone, they turned this around from the moment the old coach Dunga was replaced by Tite. After this appointment, Brazil went on to win ten games and draw two, ensuring qualification to Russia 2018 with four rounds to spare. They showed an encouraging amount of resolve in their 4- 1 victory over Uruguay, despite having fallen a goal behind. This could be crucial to their success this summer, as they cannot rely solely on talent and skill to guide them the full way through the tournament.
- Neymar (PSG) – Neymar has been the star and main man for this Brazilian side for the last number of years, but was unfortunately injured early on in the 2014 World Cup, and was unavailable when his side were dumped out of the tournament unceremoniously in a 7-1 defeat to Germany. Now at 27 years of age and in the prime of his career, Neymar will be the key to Brazil’s chances of winning the competition in Russia, and can make this World Cup his, if only he can handle the pressure and maintain his composure. Discipline has been a weak point with his character, and he will do his side no favours by getting suspended.
- Paulinho (Barcelona) – A controversial recall by coach Tite, Paulinho has often been criticised for really failing to impress during his time at Spurs. However, since his recent move to Barcelona, he has become a new man, and has arguably been their most valuable player domestically this season. Tite will look to Paulinho to boss the midfield and control the pace of the game. With Gabriel Jesus and Neymar in front of him, I expect Paulinho to notch up a significant number of assists, however he has proven that he is not afraid to get forward himself and pick up a goal or two.
Tite – The 56-year-old Tite was appointed in June 2016 to take over from Dunga, and from the moment he arrived he turned Brazil’s fortunes around. An intelligent and charismatic figure, he has won domestic, continental and world titles in charge of Corinthians, but it is his in-depth knowledge of how top-class European football is played that seems to be having the biggest impact on this Brazilian team. The stage is set for him to lead Brazil to glory this summer.