The Brazilian national team play a prestigious friendly against England tonight to mark the 150th anniversary of the English FA.
The game at Wembley will give English fans the chance to sample some of the Samba Boys skills.
Despite all the natural ability within the Brazilian national team there are doubts about whether they can go all the way on home soil in next year’s World Cup. Their form really has been patchy in recent months.
The lack of competitive fixtures really hasn’t helped the cohesion of the team. Former-boss Mano Menezes was attempting to get rid of the old guard and fill his squad with youngsters, but tried to bring in too many young players at once and it cost him his job.
Brazil are currently a lowly 18th place by their high standards in the world ranking. That is largely due to a lack of competitive football of late.
Mano Menezes’ replacement as Brazil head coach is former-Chelsea boss Luis Felipe Scolari. Big Phil was appointed back in November with the brief of helping Brazil claim their sixth world crown on home soil.
The veteran boss has previous experience of managing Brazil, winning the 2002 World Cup with the Selecao in his first spell in charge. Scolari has enjoyed a mixed managerial career since, but is seen by some as an experienced pair of hands to guide the young Brazilian team.
Scolari’s return has received a mixed reaction from both former-players and fans in his homeland.
Another old face returning to the Brazilian setup is former-World Player of the Year Ronaldinho, after a year’s international absence. There has been much debate both at home and abroad whether the veteran playmaker should still be involved in the national team.
Ronaldinho is enjoying something of an Indian summer to his career with Atletico Mineiro. The mercurial playmaker is in superb form after enduring a torrid time in his last few seasons in European football.
Whether the former-Barcelona star will still be in the setup come the World Cup remains to be seen, but he does already have a World Cup winner’s medal from 2014. As Menezes’ spell in charge proved the squad can’t be full of inexperienced youngsters, so Ronaldinho may still have something to offer his national team.
There is no doubt that Brazil has some of the most promising youngsters in the world game. The likes of Neymar, Oscar and Lucas Moura are highly-rated, but don’t have much experience at international level.
Oscar and Lucas Moura have both made big money moves in the past year, with varying success. Oscar has impressed in fits and starts at Chelsea, with most of his best moments coming in the Champions League.
Lucas Moura only moved to mega rich French club PSG at the start of January, so hasn’t yet had much of a chance to impress. However, he is expected to have a big impact in Ligue One in the next couple of seasons.
However, the most highly-promising player in the Brazilian national team is of course Santos striker Neymar. The 21 year-old is regarded as the next big superstar in the world game. The youngster has attracted so much attention that the biggest clubs in European football are fighting to sign Neymar.
The Santos star has already stated that he won’t move on until after the World Cup and doesn’t want to discuss his future. Catalan giants Barcelona are favourites to sign the star, but the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid have also been credited with an interest in the striker.
Brazil usually go into World Cup’s as one of the favourites, but at the moment the Samba Boys don’t look like a team capable of claiming the biggest prize in international football. Games like tonight will be vital in Brazil’s preparation for the World Cup.
Brazil’s only competitive fixtures will come at the Confederations Cup in the summer, so friendlies take on extra importance for Scolari to develop his team.
The Brazilian national team always bring a touch of magic to any game and tonight’s encounter will give a chance for England fans to see the likes of Neymar perform live. The Brazilian national team may bring a touch of stardust wherever they go, but they have a lot of work ahead of them if they are to become world champions for the sixth time on home soil next year.
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