Brazil is the country that took football to the sublime, that turned it into a more spectacular game, and when you talk about the main contenders before the start of a world tournament, this nation is always at the top. It can’t be otherwise, whether you love the Selecao or not, given that they can easily make up two or three strong teams. In fact, one of the most difficult tasks for a Brazil coach is this very thing, to choose the players with whom he goes to battle to win another world title.
In the 26-man squad for the FIFA World Cup 2022, Tite retained no less than 9 strikers. Stars which currently playing for PSG (Neymar), Real Madrid (Vinicius, Rodrygo), Arsenal (Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli), Manchester United (Antony), Barcelona (Raphinha), Flamengo (Pedro), Tottenham (Richarlison). A striker like Robert Firmino from Liverpool did not have a place in this Brazil team. Of all these men, a maximum of four can play in the starting team in Tite’s system (4-2-3-1). And there are other important players missing from Qatar, even in other positions, such as defender Gabriel Magalhaes, a key player at Premier League leaders Arsenal. The competition is fantastic for a starting spot.
Brazil travels to Qatar with the goal of becoming the first soccer nation with six world titles. The hunger for another major success is huge, given that the last trophy was won 20 years ago by the generation of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos. The Samba Boys have lost just one of their last 29 matches, the Copa America final against Argentina in 2021. But after losing to Belgium in the quarter-finals in 2018, they have faced just one European side since then, the Czech Republic in 2019 , which defeated her in a friendly game with 3-1.
Out of a constellation of stars, who will shine more? Almost 50% of the 26 men have been called up from the Premier League, the world’s biggest league, but the team will be led by PSG star Neymar. The striker is having a fantastic season, his best to date since arriving in the French capital, averaging 1.42 goals per game that he has directly contributed to (goals and assists). At 30, Neymar is Tite’s fix point in the starting line-up, while the rest of the forwards will be rotated around him. Vinicius Jr. is probably the second favorite to start, but Gabriel Martinelli is having a dream season with Arsenal and is ready to take any chance on the left. On the right, contenders for the post are Raphinha and Antony, but the biggest competition in attack will be for who will play no. 9, with four candidates, Richarlison, Gabriel Jesus, Rodrygo and Pedro. The latter was last season’s top scorer in the Copa Libertadores, recently managing to win the trophy with Flamengo, following a final with Athletico Paranaense.
Such an attack is also supported by a solid midfielders. Casemiro and Fred have performed very well in recent times for Brazil, but four other players are ready to start at any time, Bruno Guimaraes, Fabinho, Paqueta and Everton Ribeiro. The first has a superlative season with Newcastle, the second has a Champions League final with Liverpool a few months ago, while the other two men are midfielders who can perform even more offensively if Tite wants to change something.
Brazil has always proposed a fantasy football, one aimed at attack. And if we talk about vulnerabilities, they appeared defensively. However, the defenders that the Selecao are counting on at the 2022 FIFA World Cup also have immense experience, led by central defender Thiago Silva (38 years old) and Dani Alves (39 years old). The former Barcelona star will become the oldest Brazilian player to appear at a World Cup, breaking the record held by Djalma Santos, who was 37 at the 1966 World Cup in England. Alves is also the most decorated footballer of all time, with 43 trophies for club and national teams, and also played in the World Cup in 2010 and 2014. He was injured in the 2018 edition. The world title is the only major trophy that he still has missing from the record. Alex Telles, Eder Militao, Danilo, Bremer, and Alex Sandro were also called up for the four-defense line.
The most homogeneous position in the team is in goal, where Alisson Becker (Liverpool) and Ederson (Manchester City) complement each other very well. The first choice will most likely be decided by the current form. The third option is Weverton, who will only play if some unforeseen event occurs.
So Brazil has talent in abundance, they are blessed with options. And coach Tite knows he is on the verge of doing something special with this group of players.