Brazil are regarded as one of the top footballing nations in the world. However, of late their reputation, especially after World 2014 had slipped slightly.
It was not just that 7-1 semi-final hammering by Germany on home soil that had led to the decline, but a general lack of good players and organisation.
However, the Selecao are currently top of the South American section of World Cup qualifying. On Thursday night Tite’s team hammered arch-rivals Argentina 3-0 in Belo Horizonte.
Some truly exciting players
At the last World Cup, Brazil depended on one player to win them games, Barcelona’s Neymar. He scored in the win over Argentina and now has 50 international goals in 74 appearances for his national side.
For all the talk of showboating and negatives, Neymar is a top talent. He may have a big ego, but the striker also has sheer ability to back it up. The forward has drawn inevitable comparisons with former Brazilian great Pele, due to his similar attributes and their connections to Santos.
Neymar is the latest Brazilian superstar and the national team needs him, as they have been short of true stars in recent years. However, he no longer has to shoulder the entire attacking burden.
Another exciting Brazilian player currently at the top of his game is Liverpool star, Philippe Coutinho. The 24-year-old scored a fabulous goal in the clash with Argentina. The goal has followed what has been an impressive club campaign so far with the Merseysider’s.
Suddenly Coutinho has combined the technique and brilliance that we knew he had with consistent performances. It has led to stellar form and reported interest from Catalonia and Neymar’s current employers, Barcelona.
Then there are the likes of Chelsea’s underrated winger Willian, Coutinho’s Reds teammate Roberto Firmino and Bayern’s brilliant star Douglas Costa. These stars are in their peak years of playing football.
Neymar seems to finally have some capable teammates and no doubt it will bring the best out of the former-Santos star.
While Neymar, Coutinho, Firmino and Costa are in their mid-twenties there is a couple of youngsters just underneath the stars waiting to shine. Young Palmeiras striker Gabriel Jesus is one such player. The 19-year-old joined Premier League Manchester City in the summer for a fee of around £30million.
He was allowed to stay with Palmeiras, where he has scored 15 goals in 37 appearances, until January. Already the exciting youngster has scored four times for the Selecao in five appearances.
Gabriel Jesus is considered as one of the hottest young strikers in world football. Just when we thought City’s front line could get more exciting he is heading to the Etihad Stadium in the winter transfer window.
Jesus’ emergence has also led to Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa being almost forgotten about. Another product of the Santos youth system. Barbosa joined Italian club Internazionale in the summer for a fee reported to be around £26million.
Much was expected of the 20-year-old in Serie A. However, the youngster has endured a frustrating time in Italy making just one substitute appearance since his arrival. Speculation in Italy suggests he could be loaned out in January. Both Chelsea and Arsenal are reported to be monitoring his situation.
Gabriel Barbosa has promise and hopefully he can prove himself in the near future in Europe, as he has undisputed talent.
A far stronger team in 2018
Following a rather shaky start to their qualification campaign Brazil are now looking like a very well-balanced team. The Selecao have now won their last five qualifiers under the much-travelled Tite.
The 55-year-old seems to have found the right blend in his team of youth and experience, which many Brazilian bosses struggled to do. At the moment his team is defensively solid, conceding just one goal in their last five qualifiers. They are also very good going forward firing home 15 goals in those five wins.
The Brazil team as a whole were not great in 2014 on home soil, as the German’s ruthlessly exposed their lack of organisation and leadership. The Selecao are already being rated as 8/1 second-favourites to win the World Cup in 2018.
While there is a long time to go before the big event in Russia, the Brazilian national team currently look far more likely to justify their odds this time around than they did on home soil two years ago.
Is the current Brazil team better than the 2014 version?