10th Jun 2018 | World Cup
World Cup Winners Tip: Brazil
The 2014 World Cup was meant to belong to Brazil on home soil but it was a tournament too soon. Tite has transformed the side since arriving in 2016 and they now have the tactical nous to keep clean sheets. Going forward the array of talent is frightening and Neymar is just hitting his peak.
The big one. Picking a World Cup winner. And the first thing we can say is that it’s hugely unlikely to be anyone other than Germany, Spain, Brazil or France. The last four to lift the trophy if you exclude Italy, who have excluded themselves.
A case can be made for any of the above so let’s focus on what could be missing for the main candidates. In the case of France, they have a fearsome squad but doubts surround the coach, Deschamps. He fell short on home soil in 2016 and doubts persist over him being the man to complete the job.
Germany are the defending champions, and still look formidable but no side has retained the trophy since 1962, which tells you how hard it is to establish a global dynasty. The squad remains vast in depth but perhaps there lacks an ‘x-factor’ game-changing superstar.
Spain will be major challengers but have looked somewhat unconvincing in recent warm-ups, sneaking past Tunisia 1-0 after drawing with Switzerland.
This leaves us with Brazil who look reborn since Tite took charge in June 2016. Since then Selecao have been imperious, storming to qualification with standout results including 3-0 wins over Argentina and Chile and a 4-1 away thrashing of Uruguay. At the end of March this year then even beat Germany 1-0 in a friendly.
Crucially, under Tite, the South Americans have learnt how to defend again, conceding just 3 times in 12 qualifiers under him. Alisson is performing so well in goal that Ederson can’t get in the team while Thiago Silva, Filipe Luis and Marcelo are just three defenders with bags of experience and big match know-how.
In midfield Paulinho has been a revelation for club and country while Fernandinho provides further protection allowing the likes of Coutinho, Casemiro and Willian to hurt opponents.
The superstar this team has is, of course, Neymar. He is fit and fresh and at his peak at 26-years-old. Even up front he doesn’t carry this burden alone anymore though with the likes of Firminho and Jesus providing able support.
Brazil are the team to beat and we should back them to lift the trophy for a 6th time at best odds of 9/2 with ~Coral.
Odds correct at time of publishing: 12:09 10th Jun, 2018 but subject to change