They’re everyone’s favourite team, the yellow and green icons of world sport, stirring passion and delighting fans across the globe with a unique brand of swashbuckling football.
Brazil arrived at FIFA 2018 as the team we all wanted to watch but, yet again, they left having entertained the whole world…but empty-handed. The South American giants haven’t won the World Cup since 2002 and that must be starting to annoy them a little.
Here at us, we love teams who play the beautiful game and the Selecao certainly does that. But in the recent past Brazil teams have always shown some fallibility, no more infamously than in a 7-1 humiliation by Germany in their own backyard in 2014.
That must have hurt and it will have taken some getting over. But I believe coach Tite has guided his team to a place where they can now cope.
Brazil’s failure to beat Belgium in the quarter-final was a mild surprise rather than a shock. The Samba boys were always going to be big FIFA 2018 news but come on, they went out to the third-best team in the world, according to FIFA rankings. It was a defeat which denied us a Brazil vs France semi-final and that surely would have been an amazing World Cup decider.
The best in South America
After the sacking of his predecessor Dunga, Tite took the helm at Brazil in 2016, at which point their qualification campaign was all at sea. But once he had his feet under the table they didn’t look back, storming through the tough South American group at a canter, and dumping a talented Chile side out in the final game.
The new coach has been credited with a renaissance in Brazil picking the young Gabriel Jesus and freeing up Neymar to express himself. He has rebuilt the side and its confidence, and in the process won back the support of those passionate fans who shed so many tears back in 2014. The nation has rediscovered its love for the game.
Jesus has been a revelation and will only get better, while his Manchester City team-mate Fernandinho provides the defensive midfield nous, enabling Willian and Philippe Coutinho the freedom to express their undoubted talent.
Alisson has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world and is reported to be the subject of a bid from Liverpool to take him from Roma to the Premier League.
The best in the World?
The Selecao was joint favorites to win the World Cup, with France, at initial FIFA 2018 odds of 5.00, but those dropped as they made the last eight with relative ease.
As Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi move through their thirties, there could be a place for a new world number one. France’s teenage wonder kid Kylian Mbappe has staked a claim but, on his day Neymar can be masterful. But was the PSG man at his very best throughout the tournament? If you are going to come out on top of the world then you need your best players to be at 100 per cent.
Neymar gave us some wonderful moments of skill, but for many, the abiding memory will be of his rolling around under the nose of the referee when tackled, and his tears of joy, and then despair.
But what can you do? Neymar is Neymar. You get the whole package, a highly strung individual on the edge of greatness. If he reaches anything near the consistent levels of the likes of Messi then he could become a legend on the Copacabana Beach!
It’s time for Brazil to look forward now and no longer backwards. The hideous memory of massacre at the hands of Germany in front of their own fans at the 2014 Brazil World Cup has, to a degree, been consigned to the history books.
But, though they fade, some the scars will remain until the Selecao is top of the world again.
They have the vision, guile and strength in midfield and an exciting front line; but in defence, the dependable trio of Marcelo, Thiago Silva and Filipe Luis are all over 30 and Tite needs to settle on his replacements for the 2022 World Cup.
Brazil is a football nation and will always have world-class talent on the conveyor belt, and in Qatar they will be a force to be reckoned with. But then, among a group of teams which is improving, so will France.
It isn’t getting any easier but if Tite introduces more youth in defence in the next couple of years and the stars are aligned in 2022, then it could be Brazil’s year.
Either way it’ll be fantastic to watch.
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE WORLD CUP 2018 STORIES & ODDS
Stay updated with everything sports and betting.
Follow us on social Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.