2018 FIFA World cup:- The Contenders - Brazil

Last Updated: Saturday, 9 June 2018 (19:40 IST)
-Abhijeet Deshmukh

World cup has traveled across the globe, but only European or South American teams have managed to win it. Contested by 32 countries, world cup winner has never been a surprise. Even at this edition, a new continent or new champion lifting the world cup will be next to impossible. Only 5-6 teams got caliber to lift the world cup and in this edition defending champion Germany, Brazil, Spain, France, Argentina, Belgium looks potential contenders. Let's start with teams from South America, & Argentina today.
During 2016 Olympics, I was lucky to witness Brazil’s Gold medal match vs Germany at Rio de janerio’s, Marcanna stadium. Match went into penalty shootout and when converted it, Brazil won their maiden gold medal at Olympics, the entire stadium erupted. For several days, I couldn’t get out of my head the noise of people chanting, singing, dancing and crying for Brazil. Football in Brazil cannot be expressed in words, it has to be experienced. For sure, football in Brazil is more than life and that’s the reason five time world champion qualified for all 21 world cup. will be decider. If he starts regularly in playing XI, the team will be boosted by his presence.

After 2015 & 2016 early round exit in Copa America, coach Dunga was fired.  Brazil had been completely refreshed ever since new coach “Tite” took over. An unbeaten streak of 17 matches during qualification, and win over Germany in friendly match at Berlin are great symptoms of Brazil’s form. I quite like the way coach “Tite” directly declared 23 players squad for world cup instead of 35, that’s the Brazilian way.  Dani Alves knee injury was big blow but when you have Marcelo, Thiago Silva, Philipe luiz, Miranda in defense its solid world class wall. Neymar although not at peak of fitness but has been included in the squad which gives more options in offense. Firmino and had been in tremendous form scoring 28 goals among them in premier league.

A lot has been talked about Douglas Costa’s speed, perhaps a last opportunity for him to showcase his talent at world level. With the likes of Casemiro, Coutinho, Paulinho, Willian in midfield they simply got best players in the squad. And yes, this time they managed to form a squad that can lift world cup, great job Tite.  It will be interesting if Tite opt for 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formation. France and Netherlands defeated Brazil on the road to final in 2006 & 2010 respectively, and Germany went on to win 2014 edition. It’s clear, defeating Brazil gives immense confidence to reach atleast final.
Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma), Ederson (Manchester City), Cassio (Corinthians)
Defenders: Miranda (Inter Milan), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Geromel (Gremio), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Fagner (Corinthians), Danilo (Manchester City), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)
Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Barcelona), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Willian (Chelsea), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Forwards: Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Firmino (Liverpool), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk), Douglas Costa (Juventus)
Prediction:- Brazil likely to top group E placed along with Switzerland, Costa Rica & Serbia but as always the knockout stage will be biggest challenge. Brazil should easily reach QF, where they are likely to face Belgium, which will be daunting task. Brazil got world cup winning squad but Neymar’s performance after comeback.