Brazil 2018 World Cup squad strengths and weaknesses

June 17, 2018 at 11:13 Leave a comment

Brazil go into Sunday’s match against Switzerland on a high. Tite’s team overcame solid opposition in Croatia and Austria in their final warm up games and are confident of putting one over the Swiss in their World Cup opener. The South Americans are amongst the favourites and it’s easy to see why.

Strengths
Organized build-up – Preparations have gone well for Brazil during the three weeks the squad have been together. The backroom staff have done their work and so far it’s been very smooth running for the 23 players plus 42 coaching and support personnel.

Form – Brazil go into the World Cup on the back of a very good run that started in the South America qualifiers and has continued in their warm-up matches for Russia. The Canary’s record under Tite is an impressive 17 wins, three draws and just one defeat to Argentina.

Creativity and goals – If the Seleção start with Coutinho, Willian, Neymar and Gabriel Jesus, they are capable of picking their way through any defence. Marcelo is an excellent attacking option down the left flank and Paulinho has made a habit of ghosting forward to find the net.

Attacking strength in depth – Roberto Firmino and Douglas Costa have both had good seasons for their clubs so Brazil are not short of extra fire power should things start to go pear-shaped.

Tight defence – Scoring against Brazil has become increasingly difficult. The South American’s defend high up the pitch starting with the hard-working Willian and Gabriel Jesus. Casemiro and Paulinho have been effective at mopping up in midfield and Alisson is in top form in goal. Tite now favours Miranda and Thiago Silva as the two central defenders, and Brazil have kept 16 clean sheets in 21 games with the current coach in charge. If the Canaries do need to shut up shop they can bring in Fernandinho or Fred as a third holding midfielder, or Marquinhos if they decide to go with three centre-backs.

Confidence and strategy – Tite has brought belief and organization to the squad. The coach has done an excellent job at massaging egos, and more importantly he’s kept Neymar happy. Tite’s also implanted a patience that was hitherto missing, and his side work hard to keep the ball until they can open up the opposition.

Neymar – Tite claims that the PSG man is not yet 100% fit following his foot injury. But the player seems to have quashed any doubts over his confidence with two fabulous goals in two games since his return. Brazil were already a force. But If Neymar stays free of injury and suspensions, the Canaries could be unstoppable.

Weaknesses
Predictability and tactics – Brazil’s preferred starting line-up, and the way they’ll play, are no secrets. Since Tite took over, his side have pretty much had it all their way. There’s been little need for a Plan B, so it will be interesting to see how the South Americans react if things do start to go wrong.

Central defenders – Miranda, 33, Thiago Silva, 33, and Geromel, 32, are experienced but ‘aging’ defenders. Lack of pace is a problem and they could be outmuscled by more athletic forwards. None of the three is particularly comfortable at bringing the ball out under pressure. If they come up against a pressing team, Brazil could be in for a few hairy moments.

The flanks – Marcelo can be a joy to watch going forward but he can be a liability at the back. The Real Madrid man gives the ball away far too often and holes can open up in defence. The injury to Dani Alves was a blow. Replacement right back Danilo has no experience at this level and will come under pressure.

Tracking runs in midfield – Casemiro and Paulinho have been effective in the middle of the park but they are not the fastest. Fred is quicker but at only 1.69m Brazil would lose some physicality in the centre of the park.

Too many players from weaker leagues – Brazil have six players – or around 25% of their squad – playing in what can be described as weak leagues. Cassio, Fagner and Geromel ply their trade in Brazil. Renato Augusto is in China. Fred and Taison do have Champions League experience but their bread and butter is earned in Ukraine. None of the six are expected to start but if injuries and suspensions start to kick in will these players be able to step up to World Cup level?

The captaincy – Since taking over the Seleção Tite has changed his captain every game. The idea that all his players need to take responsibility sounds good. But the lack of a ‘natural leader’ could prove decisive when the shit hits the fan.

Mental strength – The mood in the Brazil training camp has been very relaxed – perhaps too relaxed. Tite’s men have looked comfortable and composed in the games they bossed, but the acid test will come when things finally go against them.

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Entry filed under: Brazil squad, Brazil squad 2018, Brazilian football, World Cup 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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The man who came up with: Messi carrying Argentina. Neymar carrying Brazil. British Airways carrying England. My name is Jon Cotterill. I am an English football commentator for TV Globo in São Paulo, Brazil. Currently we're broadcasting two live Campeonato Brasileiro or Campeonato Paulista games per week plus our magazine show, Footbrazil to 180 countries. + Eu trabalho como narrador na TV Globo em São Paulo, Brasil. Atualmente, nos transmitimos dois jogos ao vivo do Campeonato Brasileiro ou Campeonato Paulista por semana e nosso programa de futebol semanal, Footbrazil.

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© Jon Cotterill and Pitacodogringo's Brazilian football site, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jon Cotterill and Pitacodogringo's Brazilian football site with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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