I down pat the fact that there are copious avid and formidable stalwart supporters of Brazil in this 2014 World Cup final though many of you are admirers of Neymar’s hairstyles – but still supporters. So before you initiate litigating for your team, put on my glasses and see it from my point of view.
No way is Selecao challenging for the diadem this year at the Maracana stadium. I’m not implying that their squad is mediocre but again, maybe I’m hinting on that.
How they’ve started the campaign is unconvincing. From winning the Croatia game through a controversial penalty which was not far from being saved; to going on a stalemate with Mexico in their home turf, thanks to the outstanding performance of Guillermo Ochoa; and to a win from a hopeless and already knocked-out Cameroon side.
I am certain; there is no way for Brazil.
Look at teams such as Netherlands who recorded results that sent shockwaves through world football. They thumped the reigning champions, Spain, to a 5-1 humiliation. Look at Chile make themselves known and heard that they did not turn up in Brazil for touristy. If Chile beat the champions, Spain, is it safe to say they’ll claw their way to the top? No? Okay. Look at a team like Germany; thrashing Cristiano Ronaldo’s side to a 4 nil triumph. And here Brazil deadlock with Mexico? Really?
Look at Colombia who documented their best performance ever in the world cup history. I’ll be shocked if the youngsters, James Rodriguez age 22 and Juan Quintero age 21 aren’t bagged by the top teams in Europe. Can we conclude it is an under-dog tournament? No. Okay.
Let’s focus and narrow our analysis to the Selecao’s players.
You examine their goalkeeper, Julio Cesar, and though he does well with the national team, club-wise, he’s cast away. He’s a pretty good player but definitely not as good as Courtois, Mignolet and Neuer.
To their back four; I cannot really grouse. From Alves to Thiago to Luiz and Marcelo they are sturdy and stout though worries remain over their defense – especially the substitutes.
Advancing to their midfielders, I have a concern. Nothing scares me. Gingerly, no one scares me. The kinds of Oscar, Ramires, Paulinho, Gustavo, Fernandinho and Bernard are not the names that can make Mexico or Chile dread walking into the pitch. Are they good players? They are great. But they fail to establish any kind of superiority in midfield and their guile cannot be compared to the likes of Ozil from Germany, Robben from Netherlands, Iniesta from Spain or Di Maria from Argentina.
Unless they bank on the unity and chemistry which they have; there is absolutely NO WAY for Brazil.
I look askance to their front; Fred is playing in the local leagues (Fluminense) – there is nothing wrong – but being in the same pitch with players who play at the biggest tournaments in the world doesn’t help either. Plus his performance will for sure not pacify the critics (like me). Hulk? Not so much. The household name, Neymar! Neymar is definitely out of his league. With his brilliant and dazzling footwork, pace and show-boats, he’s got to be feared. I cannot as well refute claims of him being compared to the greatest of all, Pele; as he is a genius with the ball. But as we all know, one man cannot rule the show – ask Portugal!
As Ben Smith put it (in his article against Mexico), “This was a Brazil team with style but not substance. A Brazil team that faces more questions, more headaches.”
Did I forget how adamantine it is for the host nation to win? From 2002 in South Korea and Japan where Brazil won; to 2006 in Germany where Italy won; and to 2010 in South Africa where Spain clinched the tournament; that pressure is gargantuan, the weight of expectation immense.
For you Selecao supporters keep dressing in yellow and green colors but as for me, I’m sticking to Germany and Belgium. For there is just NO WAY Brazil is clinching this year’s World cup finals.