Brazil started off the Qatar World Cup as one of the main candidates to lift the trophy based both on the quality from their players and their performing in the last Copa America. After the first two fixtures in the tournament, Brazil have shown several strengths and just a few unknowns towards the next rounds.
In their first game, Serbia approached with a great defense aiming to look for counterattacks. Brazil kept insisting until Richarlison took advantage of a reflection from the keeper in the 62nd minute in order to send it in after an excellent action from Neymar.
Once they managed to open up the scoreboard, Brazil felt relieved. Vinicius kept insisting on the left wing and he sent a great ball to the box in the 73td minute to Richarlison that he finished through a bicycle kick. The best goal so far in the World Cup.
Neymar and the pressure of being Brazilian:
The bad news from the first game were the injury of Neymar, who suffered an ankle sprain in the 79th minute. Apparently, he will be able to play again if Brazil keep moving on through the next coming rounds. World Cups for Neymar have always turned into injuries and he has admitted himself that this would be his last World Cup.
In the last few months, the image of Neymar for the Brazilian crowd has been messed due to his political ideas. Several critics on him arose and his teammate Raphinha defended him through a post on his social media: “The fans from Argentina treat Messi as a God. The fans from Portugal treat Cristiano as a king. Brazilians are happy with the injury of Neymar. The biggest mistake of his career was to be born in Brazil, this country does not deserve his talent nor his football, he said.
On the other hand, if we only focus on football, Brazil lose creativity on their game, despite having multiple outstanding offensive players. The game against Switzerland is a clear example. Less fluency and more individualities forward against a team that fell back in search of a mistake from Tite’s squad. Even though they did not suffer defensively, they struggled to earn the win until Casemiro’s goal. That definitely woke up Brazil and there was still time to see more skills and fun from the ‘Canarinha’.
Despite the cliches that we might have, Brazil is a very conservative national team that bases most of its game on both the wings and the accuracy from the strikers. They do not take any risk on defense and so they have not conceded a goal so far and have yet to even allow a single shot on target.
We still have to find out on Neymar’s absence time, but no doubt that they will still be favorites. A solid national team that bet on the effectiveness before the gimmicky. Their advance to the round of 16 is already secured, we just now have to see how they do in the next coming weeks.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: @CBF_Futebol.