Balanced Brazil reduces dependence on Neymar

Neymar has been named in the starting XI for Brazil's final pre-World Cup friendly as they take on Austria in Vienna. He was also part of the Brazil team at the 2012 Summer Olympics, which they lost to underdogs Mexico in the finals. The real challenge starts from quarter-final onwards as they are expected to face a very balanced Belgium side followed by France in the semi-final and reigning champions Germany in the final. Danilo is prone to errors and could prove to be the weak link in an otherwise solid defence. The Barcelona goalkeeper has overcome a shaky start to his worldwide career and helped Germany win the Confederations Cup.

Ederson's stellar debut season with Manchester City, not to mention his outstanding distribution skills, won't, however, be enough to dislodge Liverpool transfer target Alisson.

Fatherly, enthusiastic and protective when the occasion demands, he is beloved by the players, while his collaborative approach behind the scenes, where he has a small army of back-room staff, has also won him admirers.

Tite's side go into the tournament off the back of warm-up wins over Croatia and Austria. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. In 2017, Neymar would go on to become the world's most expensive football player as Paris Saint-Germain paid 263 million Dollars to secure his services. The Germans arched their eyebrows at this ridiculous carnival of pity and thumped Brazil 7-1. Although [Neymar's time in Barcelona] ended the way it did, he won important titles here, he won the Champions League, he won La Liga. He partners Luka Modric and Toni Kroos at Madrid. The distribution and transition in midfield, a trio of Casemiro, Fernandinho and Paulhino, Tite's preferred choices against stronger opposition, were non-existent. In Russia, Tite and Neymar will have to be at their best to triumph and restore Brazil's image as the great footballing nation on earth.

Philippe Coutinho
AFPPhilippe Coutinho laughed off his birthday prank

Sunday's goal was a superb effort, the former Barcelona man controlling Willian's chipped pass on his thigh just inside the box and then leaving Austrian defender Aleksandar Dragovic on the floor with some delightful footwork before rolling the ball home.

Brazil forward Neymar joined Romario for third place on Brazil's all-time leading goalscorers list after scoring in the win over Austria and Tite says that he does not know the limit on the forward's potential. Neymar has been an global force for a while, but the introduction of Coutinho and Jesus has injected life into Brazil's forward line.

One of the biggest disadvantages of playing with two or three defensive-minded midfielders is that it means Brazil's passing ability sometimes is left wanting. He will have to perform because an in-form Roberto Firmino will be waiting for his chance but with the quality he has, expect to score aplenty.

  • Angelo Rivera