Surmising on the Selecao
It’s time to look at the big four that could be lifting the Jules Rimet trophy come July 13th.
The tournament favorites romped their way to a 2013 Confederations Cup victory by emphasizing industry, tactical awareness, clinical finishing, and the magic of Neymar.
Expect the same during the World Cup.
With performances enhanced from the Sao Paulo atmospherics, and the confidence gained from his first season at Barcelona, expect Neymar to provide more than a few unforgettable moments as he dances the step-over-scissor Samba and plays the hometown hero to perfection during the group stage.
The Pressure to Create:
Industry: The word best used to describe Luiz Felipe Scolari’s midfield. With the likes of Fernandinho, Willian, Paulinho, Ramires, Hernanes, and Luis Gustavo, Big Phil has devised a rock-solid foundation for Oscar that will allow the Chelsea playmaker to focus all his attentions on creating.
Oscar must be well pleased – a welcome respite from the duties he took on playing for Jose Mourinho.
The pressure, however, for Oscar to find the telling pass, to hit a successful low-percentage ball, at the right time, with the right weight, will be enormous.
Brazil’s success hinges more upon Oscar’s ability to create versus Neymar’s power to conjure the sublime.
Silva and The Adventures of The Outside Backs:
Thiago Silva is going to be a busy man at the tournament.
Recent Champions League exploits have shown Dante’s lack of lateral speed to be cause for concern. David Luiz is a midfielder at heart who's defending often comes into question. Silva will rely on the protection of the aforementioned tireless holding midfielders to counterbalance the deficiencies of each of his CB partners.
Brazil should expect to be challenged through the air during the tournament, and especially in their first match, as Luka Modric looks to bypass the defensive center-mids by spraying his trademark outside-of-the-foot passes to the head of the ever-dangerous Mario Mandzukic.
And the attacking ambition of Brazil’s outside backs will create issues on the counter. Again, it will be the likes of Willian and Ramires who will be asked to cover with Dani Alves so far up the pitch, or Marcelo when he goes on one of his marauding runs, the understanding must be deep between the players, with clear policies for covering vacant positions or a quick strike can undo the Selecao.
The DNA of Scolari’s team is comprised of a double helix of fantastic holding midfield players that can boss the ball, set the tempo, and allow the flare players to expend their energy on attacking.
Neymar and Oscar share the burden of an entire nation pinning their hopes on success.
The first sign of trouble on the field and the unrest outside the stadiums could be easily exacerbated and find a faltering side the primary target of a everyday frustrations.
The hosts come up a bit short.
Brazil exits in the Semi-Finals.