2014 FIFA World Cup Team Profile - Brazil
A Brief History
The Brazilian national football team has been ever-present at the top level and has competed in every major footballing event to have taken place in the sport's history. Brazil are the only national football team to have competed in every single FIFA World Cup, with the 2014 edition set to be their 20th appearance in the competition. Along with this, the Brazilian national football team is also the most successful team in the competition's history having won 5 FIFA World Cups (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002) and finishing as runners-up on 2 occasions (1950, 1998). They also hold the record of 35 competitive matches unbeaten, a record which they share with Spain. They are known for their attractive style of play on the field and the current crop of the seleção will once again look to leave the crowds in awe with their fine performances on the field.
2014 World Cup Qualification
Brazil qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup automatically as the host nation as per the FIFA rules and regulations. This is the 2nd time that the FIFA World Cup will be held in Brazil, with the 1st one being held in 1950 which saw the Samba stars reach all the way to the final which they lost 2-1 to Uruguay.
Provisional 23-Man Squad
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Atletico Mineiro).
Defenders: Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (AS Roma), Maxwell (Paris Saint-Germain), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Henrique (Napoli).
Midfielders: Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur), Ramires (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea), Hernanes (Inter Milan), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Manchester City).
Forwards: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Neymar (Barcelona), Fred (Fluminense), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Hulk (Zenit Saint Petersburg).
Players on Stand-By: Diego Cavalieri (Fluminese) Miranda (Atletico Madrid), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Rafinha (Bayern Munich), Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Lucas Moura (Paris Saint-Germain), Alan Kardec (Sao Paulo).
The selection of centre-back Henrique by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is the only surprise inclusion which caught the eye of many fans and the people associated with the sport. The defender has only played 4 games for the national team but is said to be trusted by his coach who had him under his wing at his time at Brazilian club Palmeiras. Another reason which has been cited is due to his ability to play in a number of positions with the player being deployed as a centre-back, right-back and also as a defensive midfielder. Only time will tell whether his inclusion was justified or not.
Such is the quality of the current generation of Brazilian players that most of them could easily make it into any first team squad.Thus, this resulted in many familiar names being sacrificed due to the surplus of talent on offer.
The first surprise exclusion is of defenders Miranda and Marquinhos who play for Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain respectively. Miranda has enjoyed the most successful season of his career so far winning the La Liga title and reaching the final of the UEFA Champions League with Atletico Madrid after putting in some fine defensive displays which have caught the eye of many of Europe's elite clubs. Marquinhos also impressed in his debut season at PSG after arriving from Roma in a big money move which saw the 20-year old defender help his team in winning the Ligue 1 and the Coupe de la Ligue titles. Both players were almost certain of grabbing their place in Brazil's starting XI having featured regularly for their clubs but coach Luiz Felipe Scolari opted for Henrique who only made 16 appearances for his club since joining Napoli in the 2014 winter transfer window.
Filipe Luis of Atletico Madrid and Rafinha of Bayern Munich also enjoyed successful season but were snubbed in favour of the pair of Maxwell and Maicon for the right-back and left-back substitute spots. From this choice, one can only assume that Scolari opted for experience and recognizable faces at the back and did not look at the in-form pair as the top candidates. The amount of quality upfront also meant that Lucas Moura had to be left out with another youngster Bernard taking his place. Scolari will be hoping that the players justify his choice of picking them in favour of the others.
Do you think Luiz Felipe Scolari's decision to select the experienced players ahead of the in-form ones is right?
Brazil will be hoping that Neymar can do all the magic upfront and he will be the pivot of the majority of the attacking plays that Brazil can conjure up. The young Brazilian known for his audacious skills, deft touches and remarkable ball control will be hoping to stamp his name on this edition of the World Cup. The forward is in top form for his country having scored 13 goals in his last 16 appearances. He also put in some extraordinary performances for Brazil in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup scoring 4 goals and having 2 assists which led to him being named the best player of the tournament.
Brazil will also be hoping to let in few goals at the opposite end of the field and will look to captain Thiago Silva to command the defense. The defender is another player who has been at the heart of the Brazilian national team leading his side from the back. He also played a role in Brazil's triumph in last year's Confederations Cup only conceding 3 goals on the road to victory. He will hope to provide a solid defensive option as opposed to the attack minded full-backs Marcelo and Daniel Alves which can leave Brazil prone to be hit on the counter-attack.
Paulinho will also given freedom to operate in all areas of the midfield. He is the engine behind every Brazilian attack and is full of running. Scolari will be hoping that he remains fit and well rested for the World Cup as he provides both an attacking and defensive option in Brazil's midfield.
The current crop of the samba stars have got what it takes to go on and win the entire competition. They have a great coach in Luiz Felipe Scolari who is well experienced at the top level and knows what it takes to win the World Cup, having done it with Brazil previously in the 2002 edition of the competition. Brazil also possess a balanced squad which is well drilled in all areas of the pitch and has the perfect blend of energy and experience to take on any challenge.
This Brazil squad also has its weaknesses which is evident with the lack of a quality out-and-out striker upfront. Fred will most likely be given the responsibility to lead the Brazil attack, a role which he has fulfilled beyond the expectation of many scoring 16 goals in 31 appearances for his country. With Fred having recently recovered from a lengthy injury and Diego Costa opting to represent Spain, Jo may also be called upon on several occasions to fill the void which can be downfall of Brazil in this World Cup. Brazil should also be concerned about their defensive line with their full-backs often being guilty of venturing forward in attack very often leaving spaces in behind for the opposition players to run into. First choice goalkeeper Julio Cesar will also come into the fold not having enjoyed the run up to the World Cup he would have hoped for spending the season on loan at MLS side Toronto FC after his parent club QPR were relegated from the Barclays Premier League.
Brazil were drawn in group A for the 2014 FIFA World Cup alongside Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon. Brazil will be favourites to progress and should comfortably win their group as they have the stronger team on paper than any of their opponents. But the sport has so often sprung up surprises and proven to us that the best team does not always win. Brazil will have to be at the top of their game as their opponents are capable of causing an upset and possess seasoned professionals who can hurt them if given the chance.
Brazil's Fixtures for the 2014 FIFA World Cup
12th June 2014 (17:00 local time)
Brazil vs Croatia
Arena de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo
17th June 2014 (16:00 local time)
Brazil vs Mexico
Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza
23rd June 2014 (17:00 local time)
Cameroon vs Brazil
Estadio Nacional, Brasilia
Where do you think Brazil will finish in their group?
Brazil have got the players and a great coach to win the competition for a record 6th time in their history. More importantly, Brazil will not be needing any extra motivation as they will be looking to take advantage of playing on their home soil as they will have the crowd cheering them on in every match. The Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari also has the expertise and knows what it takes to win the World Cup having achieved the feat in 2002 with Brazil. They will enter the competition as favourites and will be looking to better the result which they achieved the last time when the competition was held on their home soil in the 1950 edition in which they were the losing finalists. All in all, Brazil have a great chance to win the World Cup this time around and their fans will be holding high expectations and will want their team to bring the World Cup to their country.
Will Brazil win the 2014 World Cup?
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