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Neymar and Brazil Face Acid Test En Route Football's Hall of Fame | SWOT Analysis

Not one FIFA World Cup has gone by without Brazil bringing the Samba flavour to the table, and once again in 2018 in Russia the men in the canary yellow have nothing in mind but to dazzle and enthral.

Abhimanyu Sen | News18 Sports

Updated:June 6, 2018, 1:39 PM IST
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Neymar and Brazil Face Acid Test En Route Football's Hall of Fame | SWOT Analysis
Brazil football team (Image: AFP)
Not one FIFA World Cup has gone by without Brazil bringing the Samba flavour to the table, and once again in 2018 in Russia the men in the canary yellow have nothing in mind but to dazzle and enthral.

After almost three decades of going without success, a 17-year-old named Edson Arantes do Nascimento (better known as Pele) took them to their first ever World Cup title in 1958 in Sweden - a tournament that saw the traditional powerhouse Italy miss out, just like the case in Russia.

Since then, the Brazilians have gone from strength to strength and established their merry brand of football, in the process winning football’s most coveted prize four more times (1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002).

Coached by the pragmatic Tite or Adenor Leonardo Bacchi (if you still care for the formal name) and led by the colourful yet devastating Neymar, Brazil will want to erase the memories of 2014 and the 7-1 hammering at the hands of the eventual champions Germany in Belo Horizonte to start with.

Tite was among the first to name his final squad for the 21st edition of the showpiece event, showing a definitive plan and process was put in place much before it was being spoken about in the open.

Will that be enough to place the adventurous brand of Joga Bonito to its rightful pedestal – atop the pile in the cold climes of Russia?

Strengths

Brazil has always been a footballing nation that has provided the audience with a lot of joy thanks to their inimitable ways on the football ground. No matter the situation, the Selecao are the epitome of the old adage, ‘attack is the best form of defence’.

Attack

Once again in Russia, Tite and Neymar’s side will work along the lines of the same theme with the superstar striker accompanied by the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino in the attacking third, while the left back Marcelo will undoubtedly bomb forward even if not invited. Willian and Douglas Costa will certainly add more bite as well as depth to what is already a fluid and dangerous attack.

The attacking third of the team are not only in good nick, but also bring forth a certain fluidity in terms of being able to switch positions with ease.For the opposition, that means only one thing. They need to be on their toes mentally even if they can’t match thenimbleplay of their opponent.

Throughout the season, with their respective clubs, the Brazilians have shown that they don’t need a second invitation to go on the rampage and it is likely to be the case when they don the national colours as well.



Defence

Under Tite, this team has been defensively organised, and one can expect more of the same with the back line led by the experienced head of Thiago Silva and the able troika of Paulinho, Casemiro and Fernandinho taking turns in providing ample cover to Alisson – the last and more than formidable line of defence.

Till March, the Tite-coached side played 19 games in the build-up to the showpiece event, and conceded only five goals while keeping 14 cleansheets, of which the last was against World Champions Germany.

They defend like they mean it and that unit from the back led by the central midfielders will form crucial crux that might be enough to achieve an unprecedented sixth title.




Weakness

A vibrant and exciting Brazilian football team is always among the best sights at a World Cup, but just like the other side of the coin, there is a downside and Tite of all people will be keeping more than just an eye while in the dugout.

Brazil’s biggest threat to a successful campaign will be themselves once again, as their penchant for attack could be the cause of their own downfall. Defensively, traditionally, they have never been the strongest outfit, and even though on paper there is enough cover – with the men in canary yellow from the Southern Hemisphere, it is never enough.

Flamboyance and Brazilian football are a couple that is inseparable, and overdoing the dance will be their biggest worry as they look to end a drought of 16 years since Korea-Japan in 2002.

Opportunities

Placed in Group E with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia, Brazil are likely to come through the group stages at without breaking much sweat. It is essential for their welfare in the tournament that the five time champions top the group since that is the only way they will avoid the traditional powerhouses early in the tournament.

One of the teams they will be most vary of, is of course defending champions Germany against whom they have a score to settle.

Since the humiliation on home soil, Tite took his chances once he replaced Dunga as the coach of the national team. He brought stability within flamboyance and whilst Brazil was not expected to coast through to Russia, his pragmatic approach paved the way.

Just like the qualifiers, if Tite can keep things together, it his chance along with the players, to forever be remembered fondly in Brazilian folklore.

Threat

As one of the powerhouses of world football, the Selecao have spent a fair amount of time in transition. At this point in time, led by Neymar they have one of their strongest squads in recent memory.

Most of this squad were around in Brazil in 2014 and have matured since surely, but there will be the inherent and absolutely compulsory target they have to meet – erase the wounds of 2014.

That is more than likely to play in the back of their minds, which means the pressure to perform on the big stage will be immense. For Tite’s side, the saving grace will be that they are far away from the comforts of home and the eyeballs will not be felt as much.

Neymar has been eagerly waiting for this tournament, and the frenzy about his recovery from injury will bring added attraction to him. The forward is far more developed as a player and a captain since his horrific injury against Colombia and this will be his acid test.

Brazil Squad:

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma), Ederson (Man City), Cassio (Corinthians)

Defenders: Thiago Silva (PSG), Miranda (Inter), Marquinhos (PSG), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Filipe Luis (Atlético Madrid), Fagner (Corinthians), Pedro Geromel (Gremio), Danilo (Man City)

Midfielders: Paulinho (Barcelona), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Renato Augusto (Beijing Sinobo Guoan), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Fernandinho (Man City), Willian (Chelsea)

Forwards: Neymar (PSG), Douglas Costa (Juventus), Gabriel Jesus (Man City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk)

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| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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