A nation awaits. There will be a huge gasp every time Brazil take to the pitch and a huge cheer will always follow them. A tense mood will accompany should they seem to be fluttering. A depressing mood of disappointment any time they fail to accomplish the one mission assigned to them.
La seleccao are aiming for la hexa. A sixth World Cup title has eluded the most successful nation in World Cup history for two tournaments now. On home soil, it seems now is the best chance to clinch it.
For that, the manager in charge of la penta in 2002 will be on the touchline. Luiz Felipe Scolari was in charge when Brazil last brought untold joy to their citizens. The Far East had looked far away then. Now, the World Cup will be happening at home. The pressure will be immense.
But as is Scolari’s modus operandi, he has gone about establishing an identity and family over the past year of his management. It seems to have been partially successful — a Confederations Cup win testament to that. But now, it faces its most daunting test.
It is thus a bit easy to predict — even though it is extremely difficult to counter — how Brazil will play. In a somewhat lop-sided 4-2-3-1, their back four will consist of Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Marcelo. Thiago Silva will as captain marshal from the back and protect Julio Cesar’s goal, with his tag as being the best defender in the world under scrutiny. Dani Alves and Marcelo will as usual continue that long tradition of Brazilian attacking full backs.
In front of them will be two holders — partly to ensure possession but also partly to ensure that the defence is covered should the full backs get over-excited. Luiz Gustavo seems to have secured himself one of the spots, with Paulinho likely to be the other. But Chelsea’s Ramirez and Manchester City’s Fernandinho are also battling for those positions. Depending on each game, these three Premeir League players could be rotated.
In front of them, Neymar Jr. will start from the left, with license to roam into the middle while Oscar will be complimenting his movement, drifting into areas to ensure he does not conflict with the Barcelona man. That understanding will be key — and with Hulk cutting in from the right and Fred’s ability to hold up the ball yet still score unflashy goals — their attack will be well coordinated.
It is however not the stereotypical Brazil. Not those wondrously talented individuals who could flash up an insurmountable pan of flair. This is however a team that is very solid. Able to withstand pressure and in Neymar, it does possess one of the most individually talented footballers in the world. He will be key — as the number on the back of his jersey suggests.
Can they win the World Cup? Maybe. But it will be disappointing if this group does not at the very least get to the final. Home advantage plus a technical bench that consists of Brazil’s last two World Cup winning managers could ensure it.