World Cup: Form, experience, Neymar… Why Brazil is THE big favorite in Qatar

DECRYPTION – The Seleçao begins its campaign this Thursday against Serbia. To finish it with the trophy in hand, on December 18 in Lusail?

The moment of truth. As often, Brazil, which faces Serbia this Thursday (8 p.m.) to launch its campaign on Qatari soil, starts the 2022 World Cup among the favorites. Except that this time, Neymar and company may still be a little more than usual. The Seleçao indeed presents serious assets to run for a sixth star, the first since 2002.We all have images of all the World Cups we have won in our minds. It is a source of motivation, in order to continue to write history. It’s up to us“Says Thiago Silva, who will be captain at the Lusail stadium, where the grand final on December 18 will take place.

Beware of overconfidence or simply mishaps. It doesn’t just happen to others…”The underperformance of other countries, such as Argentina (beaten 1-2 by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday), should make us think“, insists Tite. Same thing for Germany, surprised by Japan (1-2) on Wednesday. In the meantime, an overview of the reasons why Brazil is one of the big favourites, if not THE big favourite, even if France, England, Argentina and a few others also have the right to dream of world title.

The best squad on paper

Unlike other breeders, like Didier Deschamps with France not to mention him, Tite was relatively spared from glitches. In addition to Philippe Coutinho, injured, the great absentee from the Brazilian list is called Roberto Firmino, and it is a choice. For the rest, the Seleçao is well equipped in all positions, with talent, experience and players in the prime of life in all sectors of the game. Let us quote for example the nugget Vinicius Jr in front, the master to play Neymar (see elsewhere), the hub of the midfielder Casemiro, the doublet with Parisian accents Marquinhos / Thiago Silva or even Alisson Becker in goal. Moreover, if it was not the doorman of Liverpool, Tite could align the goalkeeper of Manchester City, Ederson. It’s not bad either… In terms of quality and quantity, there really is plenty to do!

Players who are in their best years

Most of these players evolve in the best clubs (Real, PSG, Liverpool…), they have the experience of the very high level and know each other by heart to evolve together for several years. While some of them are still young, the majority are in their best years, apart from the exceptions of Dani Alves (39) and Thiago Silva (38), the latter however chaining high-flying performances with Chelsea. “On the level of form of the players, what they do in their respective club and with the national team, what the selection has done for a year, we can say that Brazil are the big favorites. But this is precisely the great dangerclaims Sonny Anderson, ex-Brazilian international and consultant beIN SPORT for the World Cup. For a year, the Seleçao has not really been endangered. How will they react in the face of adversity?That’s the whole point. Can Serbia afford to answer it?

Brazil is always an event. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP

A solid Seleçao on its bases

Forget the prejudices about a Seleçao all fired up in front and feverish behind. Around the Marquinhos/Thiago Silva hinge, the Brazilian team knows how to defend. And as a team please. The Seleçao is solid. Above all, balanced. “We have a very balanced team and praise does not matter to us. We conceded few goals in qualifying and I don’t plan to fill the pitch with defenders. The secret is to find the balance“, swears Tite. His team has conceded only five goals in the last 15 matches and has not lost since July 2021 against the Argentina team (1-0).

Neymar in top form

Neymar Jr is fine, thank you for him. At 30, the Brazilian genius is at the top of his game. However, it was not won just a few months ago, when he concentrated the bulk of the criticism after a 2020-21 season failed in all respects at PSG. Symbol of Parisian failure. The former Barcelonan, however, has gone into overdrive since the resumption. Flawless off the field, brilliant on the meadow. “This is perhaps the best Neymar we have seen since his arrival at PSG», summarizes Christophe Galtier.

Not false. “A wizard“Promises Thiago Silva. “He steals“, swears Tite. “ney” panics the counters (15 goals and 12 assists with PSG this season) but not only. He plays for the team, he plays simple. And he does not hesitate to defend, to bring balance for the good of the collective. “He arrives in this important competition with a very high level. It was a different preparation for him, who has often had major injuries in the past. This time he was unhurt and is much better prepared. What is good is that he remains humble. We will share the responsibilities with him, so as to help him play better“, says Thiago, while his teammate does not miss an opportunity to say to himself “happy“. Green lights.

The group lives well

It’s a well-known cliché in football, but in Brazil, the group lives well. Ask Thiago Silva. “The atmosphere between us is very healthy. We try to be ourselves, to focus on what we have to do. We have a good mix of young players and more experienced ones. For some it’s their first World Cup but those who play in Europe have a lot of experience. Vinicius, Rodrygo… They just have to be themselves and just play“, Underlines the former captain of Paris Saint-Germain, who will also wear the armband on Thursday. “I feel better prepared (to be captain, like in 2014). Sometimes you learn in pain, but you have to use your experiences. I am calm, at ease, I have the confidence of my partners, the respect of all. I enjoy the best version of Thiago Silva. At my age, I’m living the best moment of my career“promises the Chelsea player.

World Cup: Form, experience, Neymar… Why Brazil is THE big favorite in Qatar