World Cup | Brazil: The one they all want to beat

When it comes to football there are a number of word associations that when something is mentioned people will automatically associate a person or team.

When someone says Manchester United, people will think Sir Alex Ferguson.

If people say Barcelona, the automatic response will be Johan Cruyff.

When it comes to the World Cup, the one thing everyone automatically thinks of is Brazil.

Brazil, as a nation, are football mad.

Many nations can claim to be football mad and can talk the talk but nobody has been able to walk the walk over the years quite like Brazil. They have won a record five World Cups, and they have generally done so by playing beautiful, skilful football.

Surprisingly, it took Brazil until 1958 to win their first crown, although many are still hurt by the fact they lost to Uruguay on home soil in the 1950 Finals.

The 1958 win began a period of dominance for Brazil as they retained their title in 1962, and then won it again in 1970 for three titles in a 12 year period.

After that 1970 success, Brazil went on a run without a World Cup win for 24 years until they finally broke the streak in 1994, when they defeated Italy in the final after a penalty shootout.

They almost defended the title four years later when they reached the final again, but lost to France before finally getting that fifth win in 2002 after a win over Germany in Japan.

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Over the next few tournaments, Brazil were eliminated in the quarter-finals by France and the Netherlands, who would both go on to finish as eventual runners-up.

However, hopes were high heading into the 2014 tournament, where Brazil would attempt to win their sixth title in front of their own fans.

Things were going quite well as Brazil reached the semi-finals, but a few problems emerged in their quarter-final win over Colombia.

Thiago Silva picked up a yellow card that would see him suspended for the semi-final, while Neymar also picked up an injury that would see him ruled out of the rest of the tournament.

There’s no guarantee that Brazil would have beaten Germany if Silva and Neymar had been available, but without them they completely capitulated as they were humiliated 7-1 in a game that will have crushed the spirit of a football obsessed nation.

Four years on and Brazil will return to the World Cup, and in many peoples eyes they are one of the favourites. They were superb throughout qualification, but even if they hadn’t been, they still carry the name and reputation of the biggest name in World Cup history.

Regardless of what shape the Selecao are in, and in this tournament they look to be in good shape, the world stops when they take the field.

Everyone who watches football wants to watch the Boys from Brazil and when those famous yellow jerseys are on the pitch, they are expected to win and quite often they do so before the game even starts, such is the reputation they carry.

This 2018 team are full of talented individuals and if they can come together as a team like they did in qualifying then there’s no reason why title number six can’t be won this summer.

 

Gerry Johnston

 

This article originally appeared on gj2018worldcup.wordpress.com, where you can find a definite World Cup guide.