The most successful nation at the , five-time champions Brazil haven’t enjoyed much success at the tournament since their last triumph.
Since the 2002 finals, they have failed to go beyond the quarter-finals on all but one occasion – and even that ended in infamy with a 7-1 loss on home soil in 2014.
But Brazil arrive in with, on paper, the best and most well-rounded squad and a more pragmatic style of football. Metro Sport takes a closer look at the South American giants:
The Manager: Tite
Though he began his managerial career all the way back in 1990, few outside of Brazil had heard of Tite before he took charge of the national team in 2016.
Though the start of his tenure was viewed as a failure, he and his players found their rhythm soon enough, leading to a dominant Copa America triumph in 2019, where his side conceded just one goal, and none from open play, in six games.
Though they lost the 2021 Copa America final to arch-rivals Argentina, that has been their only defeat in three years and with Brazil No.1 in the world ranking there is every chance they’ll emerge from Qatar unscathed.
Star Player: Neymar
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Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Neymar is one of the most naturally gifted players the game has seen – and of course the most expensive.
While Brazil are no longer so dependent on their star forward, his impact and influence on-and-off the pitch is clear for all to see and he’s now just three goals shy of surpassing the legendary Pele as his country’s all-time top goal scorer.
The next month could be the most important of the 30-year-old’s career – just as long as he doesn’t theatrically roll around on the floor like he did in Russia four years ago.
Young Player to Watch: Vinicius Junior
Scorer of the winning goal in last season’s Champions League final, Vinicius Junior once named Neymar as his idol – he now has the chance to outshine his hero on the biggest stage of all.
The 22-year-old lightning fast winger is already a Real Madrid icon with 57 goals and assists in 73 matches over the last 18 months, and looks set to lead the line for Los Blancos’ new generation of Galacticos.
His Real teammate Rodrygo is also worth keeping an eye on, as is Arsenal and Manchester United stars Gabriel Martinelli and Antony.
While Tite has implemented a more drilled, pragmatic approach to Brazil’s play, he recently hinted that his overabundance of forward talent could lead him to select five attacking players.
We’ll see how this plays out, but regardless of personnel a 4-2-3-1 formation and plenty of ‘samba skills’ are guaranteed.
How they’ll line up:
Liverpool keeper Alisson edges Manchester City’s Ederson in the pecking order, with 38-year-old captain Thiago Silva reuniting with his former PSG teammate Marquinhos in the heart of the defence.
Casemiro is a lock to start and could play alongside United teammate Fred or Newcastle sensation Bruno Guimaraes, but if Tite is true to his word it will be West Ham summer signing Lucas Paqueta joining him in the midfield pivot.
Neymar will play centrally in order to accommodate Vinicius and Raphinha on the flanks, while Tottenham’s Richarlison is preferred to Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus in the striker role.
Pending an unexpected disaster, Brazil will sail through Group G ahead of Switzerland and Serbia (who they also faced in the group stage in Russia) as well as Cameroon.
Likely round-of-16 opponents Portugal and Uruguay should also provide little resistance, but frankly no matter who they face they will almost certainly be favourites.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
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