The Brazilian international team are juggernauts of world soccer. Generations pass and each time the country is strengthened significantly with new talent that play some of the most exciting soccer you’ll ever witness. This year, not only are Brazil bringing a frighteningly talented squad to the competition, they are also playing it in their own backyard!
The benefits of being the host country of the World Cup can’t be talked about enough. Home field advantage is a plus in any sport, but when you are hosting the biggest tournament in the world it adds an extra layer of intimidation for the visiting teams. All teams lining up against Brazil won’t only be going head to head with one of the best soccer teams in the world on the pitch; they’ll also have to deal with some of the loudest and most passionate fans in international soccer in the stands.
It follows naturally then, that Brazil are the favorites to win the 2014 World Cup. Priced at a reasonable 3/1 they could easily be seen as a value bet. But not everything is that simple. They stand a better chance than many, but still face stiff competition from other nations who are equally as well equipped to bring the Jules Rimet trophy back home.
Perhaps their biggest rivals are second favorites Argentina. South America has a rich tradition for dominant and exciting soccer teams, and currently the Argentinian nation is home to the best player in the world, Leo Messi. Could he be the one x factor that separates the two teams? Does Brazil really have an answer for one of the best players to ever grace a soccer pitch? Let’s not neglect the rest of Argentina’s talent either. Linking up with Messi will be Manchester City’s star forward Sergio Aguero. If they can make it click on the world stage they could be a huge force to be reckoned with. Thoughts of Brazil’s South American rivals will not be far from their heads.
Even so, Brazil enters into the World Cup 2014 in a unique position for their nation’s history. They have always been known for their attacking flair, skill and largely entertaining brand of football. But this year they are also bringing a defensive core that will be difficult for other teams to break down. Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Paulinho and others all offer a defensive iron that Brazil has traditionally lacked. This could be perhaps the greatest defensive side they’ve ever fielded, a thought that will send shivers down the spines of other teams in the tournament.
Brazil will need to find their ideal style to fit both their attacking and defensive qualities. Is there really anyone better placed than veteran head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to do this for them? If they can manage a consistent and fluent style that utilises their strengths they will almost be unstoppable. You wouldn’t bet against Scolari being able achieve the type of tactical harmony they need. Not only do they possess the aforementioned depth in the defensive department, they also have one of the most exciting young talents in soccer today: Neymar. He is joined by a scary supporting cast of attacking talent like Hulk, Oscar, Willian and veteran ex-Lyon striker Fred.
There is no question that Brazil’s destiny is in their hands. It’s not as simple as turning up and turning it on, but the odds are heavily stacked in their favor. Threats are posed by rival nations like Argentina and Spain, but with the whole nation behind them and an exciting mix of young talent and veteran mind-sets, would you really bet against them? I know I wouldn’t.