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Dublin: -2°C Thursday 15 April 2021

5 reasons why Brazil will win the World Cup

It’s the host nation’s tournament to lose.

1. Home advantage

Brazil WCup Rio's Maracana stadium, where the final will be held. Source: AP/Press Association Images

WHEN BRAZIL KICK off against Croatia in Sao Paulo tonight, it will mark the return of the World Cup to the spiritual home of football for the first time in 64 years.

The hosts will have to deal with an enormous amount of pressure to succeed right from the opening game as the Seleção are expected to win the tournament for a sixth time. The threat of more protests during the finals means there is an even bigger onus on Luis Felipe Scolari’s side to go all the way and calm the widespread unrest.

Having said that, if they can hit the ground running this evening, home advantage will surely work in their favour and help them along the road to the final at the Maracanã in Rio on 13 July.

2. They’re a team

Brazil Soccer Confed Cup Brazil Japan Source: Andre Penner

As they qualified as hosts, Brazil have had a distinct lack of competitive games in recent times.  However, it is clear that they have built a solid unit which possesses plenty of experience at the highest level — even if it is short on star names.

34-year-old QPR keeper Julio Cesar will be between the sticks with next season’s PSG defensive partnership Thiago Silva and David Luiz at centre-half while Dani Alves and Marcelo of Barcelona and Real Madrid filling bombing on from full-back.

The industrious and more than capable pairing of Spurs’ Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo, with Wolfsburg last season, will screen the back four as holding midfielders so the talented attacking trio of Oscar, Neymar and Hulk are free to support lone striker Fred.

With the exception of centre forward, they also have decent options from the bench in the likes of Dante, Fernandinho, Hernanes, Ramires, Willian and Bernard.

3. Neymar’s brilliance

Brazil Soccer WCup Source: AP/Press Association Images

He’s the poster boy of the Brazilian team and the player everyone will be looking to for a moment of magic. At the tender age of 22, Neymar has already been their main man for some time — with 31 goals in 49 senior internationals. To put that in perspective, he’s nearly halfway to Pele’s record of 77.

His debut season in European football with Barcelona may not have gone quite as well as has would have hoped but the player himself has insisted that he is ready to lead the home nation to their first World Cup in 12 years.

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And it’s not just fans who are relying on him.

Everyone knows that the real star in our squad, the player who can make the difference, is Neymar,” said team-mate Fred.

“When things are going bad on a difficult day, we try to do everything to get the ball to Neymar.”

4. They’ve recently won silverware on home soil

Soccer World Cup Top 10 Predictions Will Brazil Win Source: AP/Press Association Images

12 months ago, Brazil hosted the six continental champions (Spain, Japan, Mexico, Uruguay, Tahiti, Nigeria and Euro 2012 runners-up Italy) in the Confederations Cup.

Three comfortable wins over Japan (3-0), Mexico (2-0) and Italy (4-2) saw them breeze into the semi-final finals where fellow South American’s Uruguay awaited. Brazil ran out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from Fred and Paulinho to set up a final with world champions Spain in Fotraleza.

Fluminense’s Fred bagged himself a brace while Neymer added another as the pair helped Brazil to a 3-0 win. It may only have been a dress rehearsal but shows this team is capable of silverware.

5. Big Phil has done it all before

Brazil Soccer WCup Brazil Croatia Source: AP/Press Association Images

His time at Chelsea was short-lived but, in ‘Big Phil’ Scolari, Brazil already have a World Cup-winning coach. The 65-year-old, in his second spell with the national team, was in charge for the finals back in 2002 when Ronaldo and his dodgy haircut inspired them to success — scoring two goals against Germany in the final.

Scolari was then and is now a father figure to many of the Brazilian players and has insisted that this group is just as good as the squad from 12 years ago.

Sadly, he was hit by tragic news that his nephew that been killed in a car accident near Scolari’s hometown of Passo Fundo earlier this week but hopefully he will be able to put the loss to one side over the coming month.

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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