No nation has had more World Cup success than Brazil. The Selecao have won the competition five times and Tite’s side are the pre-tournament favourites to go all the way in Qatar. Only a brave man would bet against them this winter.

However, Brazil have underachieved on the grandest stage since they last claimed World Cup glory in 2002 and the expectations placed on this exciting iteration of the Selecao means there’s always a chance they could crash and burn.

Here’s what to expect from Brazil at the World Cup.

Goalkeepers: Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras)

Defenders: Dani Alves (UNAM), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Marquinhos (PSG), Danilo (Juventus), Alex Telles (Sevilla), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Bremer (Juventus)

Midfielders: Bruno Guimarães (Newcastle), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham United), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fred (Manchester United), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo)

Forwards: Neymar (PSG), Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid), Antony (Manchester United), Richarlison (Tottenham), Raphinha (Barcelona), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Pedro (Flamengo)

Brazil haven’t been too badly hit by injuries heading into the World Cup. Projected starting striker Richarlison suffered a calf injury in October, but he’s since made a full recovery and is ready to go.

Defender Diego Carlos will be missing due to an ACL tear, while the perennially injured Arthur Melo also misses out with a thigh problem.

Neymar Jr

Neymar has played at an incredibly high level in 2022 / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Brazil may well possess the most formidable centre-back duo at the World Cup. Captain Thiago Silva continues to defy father time in the Premier League, while Marquinhos remains one of Europe’s most underrated defenders. The PSG skipper has been a mainstay of the Brazil defence for years, racking up 71 caps in the process.

Despite Brazil’s abundance of midfield riches, Casemiro is poised to partner club teammate Fred in the middle of the park. Given Fred’s streaky nature in possession, Casemiro’s importance to Tite’s side can’t be understated. He’s the stabiliser.

The undisputed star of this side who is playing at a Ballon d’Or-winning level. Neymar has carried the Selecao at times during his international career but he’s blessed with an outstanding supporting cast in 2022. The PSG man needs just three goals to pass Pele as Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer.

Tite has generally utilised a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 as of late and it’d be a surprise to see the Brazil boss deviate away from these base formations. Neymar is the star of this excellent side and is handed as much freedom as possible in a #10 position.

Brazil predicted XI: Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Telles; Casemiro, Fred; Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius, Richarlison.

Brazil haven’t been beaten since their defeat to Argentina in the 2021 Copa America final. They’ve played 15 games since, winning 12 and drawing three.

Their route to Qatar was a doddle as they topped the qualifying table and Tite’s side most recently impressed in their autumn friendlies; beating Tunisia and Ghana comfortably. In short, the pre-tournament favourites head to Qatar full of confidence.

Brazil have flattered to deceive under the bright lights over the past 20 years, but there’s just something about this Selecao outfit that makes you believe it’ll be their time again.

The unity and harmony of Tite’s squad can only be rivalled by their fiercest rivals Argentina, who may well be the biggest threat to Brazilian glory in Qatar. The earliest these two familiar foes can meet, however, is the semi-finals.

Brazil must mitigate a tricky group to progress into the knockout phase, but you’d have to back this side to beat anybody on their day. Tite has found the optimal balance and while they remain weak at left-back, it’s hard to bet against Brazil going all the way in Qatar.

Prediction: Winners


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