World Cup 2022 team preview: Neymar can lead favourites Brazil to glory

The World Cup could be on it's way back to South America

NeymarSep21

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Brazil, the record-holding five-time World Cup winners come into this tournament as the betting favourites to pick up their sixth title. Along with the honour of being the best country in the history of the event, Brazil also boast the record of being the only team to play in every World Cup.

It’s been 20 years since they last triumphed in South Korea & Japan and for a nation so obsessed with football, there is a huge expectation that the wait will come to an end in Qatar.

In recent years, Brazil have struggled in the knockout stages – most notably the 7-1 battering by Germany in the semi-final of 2014 on home soil – but this crop look like the best assembled squad since 2002.

Our footy trader Rob Jones takes a look at if Brazil can handle the weight of a nation’s expectation at the World Cup 2022.

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Brazil World Cup 2022 qualifying record

Unbeaten in 17 matches throughout CONMEBOL’s qualification, Brazil impressed more than most en-route to Qatar. They racked up 14 wins and three draws – scoring 40 and only conceding five along the way.

Who is the Brazil manager?

The 61-year-old Tite has been at the helm since 2016, and has delivered mixed results in his time in charge. In the last World Cup his side failed in the quarter-finals in a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Belgium. Things improved in 2019 as he led Brazil to Copa America triumph before missing out on consecutive titles last year with defeat to rivals Argentina in a closely contested final.

During his time in charge Tite hasn’t been afraid to make some big calls but his erratic decision making has been called into question from time-to-time – squads, formation and captains have all been heavily chopped and changed over the years. He has already announced he plans on retiring following the finals having won it all domestically in Brazil, the World Cup is the last prize he’s looking for.

Tite Brazil

Brazil World Cup squad

On paper it’s easy to see why Brazil are current favourites here. From front to back, few nations at this World Cup can match the talent and depth at Tite’s disposal.

In goal both Alisson and Ederson are the epitome of a modern rounded goalkeeper. Solidity and experience at the back comes in the shape of Marquinhos, Eder Militao and Thiago Silva. Multiple combinations in midfield from the choice of Casemiro, Fred, Fabinho, Bruno Guimaraes and Lucas Paqueta.

Attacking talent up front such as Neymar, Vinicius Jnr, Raphinha, Richarlison, Gabriel Jesus (the list goes on) is unrivalled. Is there any weak links in this squad? As we’ve seen Tite likes to tinker with selections and formations.

Both full back positions still need addressing and would be a cause for concern. Another potential headache will be which three or four players start up front – Brazil have a host of electric wide men and Neymar who can drop deep or go wide – but they might just be missing an out-and-out No.9.

  • Goalkeepers: Alisson, Ederson, Weverton.
  • Defenders: Dani Alves, Danilo, Alex Sandro, Alex Telles, Bremer, Eder Militao, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva.
  • Midfielders: Bruno Guimaraes, Casemiro, Everton Ribeiro, Fabinho, Fred, Lucas Paqueta.
  • Forwards: Antony, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Neymar, Pedro, Raphinha, Richarlison, Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr.

Brazil Key Player

With eight goals and eight assists in qualifying, Neymar showed exactly why he is still the standout star in this exceptionally talented group. The PSG man can play in multiple positions – wide, centrally as a No.9 or false 9 and even deeper as a 10.

Neymar appears to have shaken off the injury and fitness concerns which have plagued him for several years. At the time of writing, based on current form, he is the best player in world football (excluding anyone named Erling Haaland).

He’s been in sensational form domestically and in the Champions League with 20 goal contributions to his name so far. Injury cost him a place in the 2014 semi-final and he hasn’t quite been at his best on the World Cup stage since. In form and with a point to prove, this could well be Neymar’s World Cup.

Marquinhos Brazil

Brazil World Cup Prospects

It’s win or bust for Brazil. They come in as rightful favourites and anything less than that will be considered a failure. While they have the might of some top European sides and old rivals in Argentina to contend with, there is no reason they should fear anyone in the draw.

Group G sees Tite’s men drawn against some stiff competition in the form of Serbia and Switzerland who can cause any of the big nations trouble, while their final group game against African giants Cameroon looks a little easier on paper.

A potential path to lifting the trophy could see them face off with the likes of Spain, Argentina or France. It won’t be easy but they’ll fancy the job against everyone they come up against.

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Brazil World Cup 2022 Winner

Brazil World Cup betting tips

If Brazil lift the trophy on December 18th, Neymar will be the reason why. Back to his very best and as fit as he’s ever been, this is Neymar’s tournament. He might drop a little deeper or wide to accommodate a true No.9 but he will be on penalty duty and has the quality to produce moments of magic from any position.

He’s had an impeccable start to this season already and a World Cup and Golden Boot might finally lead him to his holy grail of a Ballon d’Or in 2023.

Brazil World Cup Winner Odds

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Brazil World Cup 2022 Winner

Brazil World Cup 2022 Fixtures

November 24, 7pm: Brazil v Serbia (BBC)

November 28, 4pm: Brazil v Switzerland (ITV)

December 2, 7pm: Cameroon v Brazil (ITV)

CLICK BELOW FOR TEAM PREVIEWS ON BRAZIL’S GROUP G RIVALS

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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