The second team to qualify, a whole year and a bit before the World Cup actually starts, were the team that exited the last one with a 7-1 loss. That’s right, it’s Brazil, who secured their place at next year’s finals in Russia with a 3-0 win over Paraguay which made it impossible for them to finish outside the automatic qualifying places in the South American section. Here you can find out the all about the Samba Boys and much more.
How did they qualify?
Goals from Neymar, then of Barcelona, Coutinho, then thinking he’s heading to Barcelona and Marcelo, then battling with Barcelona, saw Brazil run out comfortable winners in their comfortable qualifying campaign. They will finish top of their 10-man league and have walked through the campaign, or used a conga line.
Who will I recognise?
In case you’ve been living under a rock these past months, and with North Korea’s tendency to press the big red button, you might just be very soon, Brazil have the world’s most expensive player at their disposal in Neymar. He joins a host of Premier League stars in Brazil’s attack including Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, Willian and Roberto Firmino as they look to avenge the Germany defeat of 2014. One face you might expect to see in the Brazilian defence is Chelsea centre-back David Luiz, he’s out of favour with the manager. Tite prefers the likes of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Miranda to the frizzy haired star which has baffled Chelsea and Brazilian fans alike.
Who should I look out for?
New Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson, has been a regular recently in Brazilian squads and his experience in the Premier League will surely help him to claim that Number 1 spot before the World Cup starts come June 2018. If he is to be Tite’s preferred choice in goal, he’ll bring that Brazilian style to the very back of the team and his ability with his feet will only improve under Pep Guardiola – providing he doesn’t watch Claudio Bravo too closely in training. Ederson will be hoping Senegal don’t qualify because he’ll want to make it through the finals in Russia without too many stud marks down his face. Sao Paolo defender, Rodrigo Ciao, is a rising star in the domestic league and has been touted to join one of Europe’s top clubs. If the likes of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos or David Luiz don’t make it to Russia for whatever reason, the youngster could be next in line.
Who’s in charge?
Tite is the journey man of Brazilian football; he’s coached a staggering 14 clubs during his managerial career from Brazil to the UAE. He has almost 40 years of experience in football having been a player before turning to the dugout. Chelsea fans will remember their failed bid to win the Club World Cup in 2012 under Rafa Benitez. Benitez’s opposite number in a Corinthians dugout was Tite, and the Brazilian went on to win Corinthians’ first ever Club World Cup with a 1-0 win over the Blues in the final. His career has finally ended up as the coach of his national team and his short tenure has seen an impressive run of form that’s included 7 consecutive wins under his leadership. All this makes him seem very similar to Roy Hodgson actually. Let’s hope Tite can pronounce his r’s otherwise Brazil might be in trouble.
What’s their World Cup record like?
To put it simply – it’s the best. Brazil have 5 World Cup titles to their name – the most by any country in the competition’s history. Yes, that even means it’s better than Iran, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, who have all qualified alongside Brazil for Russia. Their side of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, is touted as the greatest football team of all time and included legends such as Pele, Carlos Alberto and Rivelino. Their alumni of World Cup winners extends to the likes of Ronaldo (the fat one), Cafu and Romario with their last triumph coming in 2002 as Ronaldo scored a brace to beat the Germans in Yokohoma.
And finally, is there any chance of winning the World Cup?
They will be in with a real shout by the time the finals come around but as long as they avoid Germany in the knockout stages. We all know what happened last time. Or England… oh who am I kidding?