Sunday, May 20, 2018

Does Brazil and Benfica Veteran Jonas Deserve a World Cup Call-Up?

Milos Markovic in Editorial, World Cup 27 Mar 2018

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With that 7-1 ghost still haunting them, South American giants Brazil is heading into the international friendly against Germany in Berlin with a huge point to prove.

The number-two ranked side in the FIFA rankings prepares for the highly anticipated standoff with FIFA’s best-ranked side and the biggest favourite to win the upcoming World Cup in Russia at 19/4 betting odds.

A Point to Prove

The Selecao head over to the Olympic Stadium in high spirits having beaten World Cup hosts 3-0 in Moscow last week and will be determined to make a clear statement of intent with another strong performance against one of the strongest teams in the world.

It is, of course, the first meeting of the two teams since Brazil’s devastating loss in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup when Die Mannschaft ruined an entire nation’s dream in its own backyard as well.

The five-time World Cup winners were taught a hard lesson four years ago but plenty has changed since then and Tite-led side now wants to prove its credentials.

Brazil became the first side to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, doing so in a rather compelling manner. Tite has been credited with transforming the team and solidifying the side which will be without ten stars for the forthcoming match against Germany.

Tite is a man who does not sit on laurels and would not call players for merits past which the likes of David Luiz, Oscar, Alex Sandro, Danilo and a couple of other notable omissions can attest to.

Brazil national team head coach is choosing his team based on current form and vision he has in terms of system and style of play but with only a couple of months until the big event should he reconsider some of his choices?

Jonas Hope

Benfica veteran forward Jonas certainly hopes he could.

The experienced 33-year-old forward is enjoying his most successful season to date with 31 goals in 27 Primeira Liga appearances for Benfica, leading the line in the European continent in front of the likes of Mohamed Salah, Lionel Messi, Bafetimbi Gomis and Ciro Immobile.

Having been pushed out of the limelight quite undeservedly this season, Jonas is the only players to have reached the 30 league goals mark in the 2017/18 before the final international break this year, thus proving his imperial run of form which is to a great extent responsible for keeping Benfica’s title race alive.

The Brazilian forward turns 34 on Sunday and is one goal shy of breaking his own record from the 2015/16 season when 32 goals made him Benfica’s highest scorer in the last decade. The veteran striker continues to run for the Pichichi award but remains hopeful that Brazil head coach Tite could serve him with what would definitely be a deserved World Cup call-up.

Brazil head coach is dealing with a highly attack oriented side which boasts plenty of flying talent in all lines of the team. Should PSG star Neymar recover in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup he will replace one player in the current attacking crop which includes Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Douglas Costa, Taison and Willian Jose which ultimately closes Jonas’s window of hope.

Mission (Im)Possible?

History, however, teaches us that surprises are indeed possible and that Jonas should not head into the final part of the season carrying a white flag. Jonas last appeared for Brazil back in May when he replaced injured Ricardo Oliveira in Brazil’s Copa America Centenario squad whereas he also deputized for the same player in a Paraguay qualifier, which was his only appearance on the road to Russia.

Heading towards his 34th birthday, Jonas would definitely make an odd choice for Tite. Brazil head coach should indeed take his formidable goalscoring rate into account when he compiles the final World Cup squad and perhaps have a look towards Spain for advice.

The curious case of Jonas could be compared to Aritz Aduriz, the 37-year-old Real Sociedad veteran who was rewarded with a European Championship ticket following his 34-goal run in La Liga back in 2015/16.

Four years his junior has plenty of time to reach and exceed his tally and make a strong claim towards the World Cup spot which could end up being a cherry on top of his entire career.

 Tite should definitely keep him in mind.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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