Updated at 12.26
THE QUESTION OF whether or not Brazil can win the World Cup has been hotly debated, not just of late, but for months.
Their final group game last night, in which they beat Cameroon 4-1 to confirm their place in the second round of the tournament, put renewed focus on this topic.
The RTÉ panel, for one, were incredibly sceptical when asked about Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team’s ability, and more or less dismissed their chances of glory.
“It’s as if they’re paralysed by the expectations of the nation… In some ways it’s funny, in others, it’s odd,” said Eamon Dunphy, adding: “Brazil are terrible. Hopeless. If Spain was the end of an era, this is the end of the world.”
Meanwhile, Dunphy’s RTÉ colleagues Ronnie Whelan and John Giles were similarly pessimistic about Brazil’s chances.
On the other hand though, some commentators, while acknowledging that they have been far from convincing so far, are more inclined to consider them as genuine contenders, particularly with the especially talented Neymar in their team.
“The question seems to be not so much whether Brazil can win the World Cup but whether Neymar can win it single-handedly for them,” noted The Guardian‘s match report.
“It is impossible to overstate his importance to this Brazil team and it was no surprise when Luiz Felipe Scolari withdrew him with 18 minutes remaining. The last thing the Brazil manager needed to risk was his best player picking up the yellow card that would have ruled him out of the Chile game.”
With that in mind, what do you think? Are Brazil strong contenders? Do they have an outside chance? Or have they no hope at all?