Teamwork Will Help Brazil Shake the Ghosts of 2014

This past spring, Brazil became the first team to officially qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The Seleção was dominant once again, blazing through qualifying by going undefeated for 13 matches. That Brazil qualified came as a surprise to absolutely no one, but the manner in which they did so showed such class and dominance that they’re already a trendy favourite for the tournament in Russia.

The team qualified with its 3-0 win over Paraguay back in March. With a team that features an attractive blend of youth and experience, Brazil hopes this squad can dispel the spectre of the 2014 World Cup. The 2014 semi-final match still looms over the team like a dark cloud. The 7-1 loss to Germany (the eventual champions) matched the record for Brazil’s worst loss ever, tying a 6-0 defeat to Uruguay in 1920. It was also the worst ever loss in a World Cup semi-final or final match.

It’s important to note that the squad was missing Neymar, its key playmaker, in addition to defensive captain Thiago Silva. Even so, the historic thrashing was unexpected by everyone, and Brazil will have a lot of making up to do in 2018. Now, Neymar is back with a vengeance and playing some of the best football of his career. As of this writing, he has recorded six goals during qualifying and has become an integral piece of Barcelona’s lethal attacking trio. With Neymar healthy and an influx of new blood, this is a team that can wipe away the past.

However, past stars have warned against putting too much weight on the shoulders of only a few star players. Even Pele has spoken about the emphasis of playing as a team rather than relying on one superstar. A common criticism of the 2014 squad was its over-reliance on Neymar, and how the team’s attack seemed lost when he went out with an injury during the quarter-final against Colombia.

Thankfully, there’s a bevy of exciting new players that should make this one of the most thrilling Brazilian teams in recent memory. Philippe Coutinho has established himself as one of the world’s best midfielders, and the team now has a reliable striker in 20-year-old Gabriel Jesus. Roberto Firmino has also established himself as a crafty, world-class midfielder and should help to bring more pace and creativity to the Brazilian side. With veterans and youngsters working together, this team has the potential to truly bring back the joga bonito of Brazil that supporters have longed for.

Of course, Germany will continue to be another side with aspirations of World Cup glory. 2014 marked the team’s fourth championship with Mario Götze’s 114th minute goal in extra time to defeat Argentina. Some pundits have pegged the Germans as a popular team to win it all, and another World Cup would tie them with Brazil for the most trophies. Like Brazil, Germany has brought a host of new talent to the international stage, and the prospect of a rematch between these two legendary sides is tantalising.

In the 2018 World Cup, Brazil will be a team on a mission, and nothing less than a sixth Jules Rimet trophy will satiate their fans. For a team with such a history of excellence, the 2014 debacle was inexcusable and something that everyone will be looking to forget. With this promising roster, Brazil can truly begin to look forward, and now that qualifying is done, it’s time to get ready for the real thing in a year’s time.

Subscribe to comments Comment | Trackback |
Post Tags: , , , ,

Browse Timeline

Add a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>