FIFA World Cup team profile: Brazil eye record sixth title
Head coach: Tite
FIFA World Cup history: Qualified in each edition of the World Cup; Best: Champions (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
Qualifying route: Finished top of CONMEBOL group standings
Squad: Goalkeepers - Alisson, Cassio, Ederson; Defenders - Danilo, Fagner, Marcelo, Filipe Luis, Miranda, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Geromel; Midfielders - Casemiro, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Renato Augusto, Fred, Philippe Coutinho, Willian; Forwards - Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Douglas Costa, Taison.
Brazil are the most successful team in the history of the FIFA World Cup, having won the trophy an unprecedented five times.
This is down largely to the fact that the Brazil national football team in the post-World War II era was filled to the brim with attacking talent.
That team was defined by their flair going forward and their ability to score goals at will, thus handing them a special place in the hearts many football fans.
Their last World Cup triumph came in 2002 but the side have always began the tournament as favourites, which is testament to the nation’s love of the beautiful game and the sheer level of talent they possess.
However, the team no longer carries the same air of invincibility that they did in the past. Part of that is down to the fact that a lot of their talented players have failed to live up to expectations and eventually faded away.
There’s also the simple fact that football as a sport has gotten more tactical. The advent of technology has helped considerably; coaches can now pour over hours of footage in order to figure how best to stifle the opposition.
Indeed, the samba style that won Brazil all those World Cups is a thing of the past. Modern football relies on a style of play that is faster, more efficient and more ruthless.
This was best summed up by the 7-1 thrashing Brazil’s suffered at the hands of Germany in the 2014 World Cup’s semi-final in a game that saw the eventual world champions take apart the hosts with wave after wave of calculated attacks.
That being said, they will be eager to right those wrongs and the current side certainly does have the talent to go the distance in the tournament.
Three players to watch out for
Neymar – The most expensive player in world football has been in fine form over the past season, justifying his big-money move to PSG. He has looked in fine touch in recent games for Brazil and the side will look to him to provide the spark for them in Russia.
Gabriel Jesus – Pep Guardiola rates him very highly and it isn’t very hard to see why: the Manchester City striker has the ability to score goals at will and an all-round game that many older than him could only dream of. This makes him the likely choice to lead the line for Brazil.
Fernandinho – He might have been criticized for his not doing enough in the last tournament but this defensive midfielder has found a new lease of life this season. His presence in midfield was key to Manchester City’s Premier League win this year and he will look to continue that form for the Selacao.