Is Brazil’s 6th star in Russia?
The apocalyptic night in Belo Horizonte(remember 1-7?) spelt doom for Brazilian football. The team had just suffered the worst semifinal defeat in World Cup history, at home to eventual champions Germany. In reaction, the Brazilian Football Confideration, CBF, went back to the past by rehiring the pragmatic Carlos Dunga to fix the mess. It was getting messier with underwhelming successive Copa America campaigns and a World Cup qualifying disaster in waiting.
For the first time ever, Brazil stood a real chance of missing the tournament. With the journey halfway, they were out of qualifying places with no sign of redemption. Exit Dunga, enter Tite and the rest is history. Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, affectionately called Tite, assumed the reigns in June 2016 and masterminded 8 straight wins, catapulting the “Seleçao” to the top of the log. In the end, Brazil became the first team in the world to qualify for Russia 2018.
Now let’s do this: if Brazil had failed to qualify, this crop of players would have been classified alongside the semifinal heavy losers of 2014 and the Maracanazo guys of 1950. Which of these groups would’ve been the worst? It’s open for an interesting debate that can wait for another day. What matters now is the hunt for the 6th star and the reclamation of top spot in the elitist league. That’s the headache now.
It has been a painstaking effort by Tite and co to assemble the current side. They hunted for players and tried and tested them, stroke balance in the team with different variations, and more importantly revived confidence and belief in the team. The latter two, hitherto, have been the most severed commodities in the team. All these have been achieved in time for the tourney.
In Russia, they’re grouped with Serbia, Costa Rica and Switzerland. It’s a pool Neymar and co should negotiate with relative ease. They open their accounts against the Swiss, the side tipped to give them a challenge. Star boy Neymar must play for the team and not for himself. He’s fond of playing to the gallery to the detriment of team progress. For some time now the team’s dependence on him has reduced, no matter how marginally. Tite must learn from Felipao in 2014; he must have a plan B.
Tite has a great team to win the title. He must know you don’t just win with quality players and quality play. There must be discipline. They must forget of their reputation and work for result. They’ve to earn it. He needs to caution his main stars against needless bookings, lest they miss crucial games. Neymar especially, with regards to his storied petulance. Thiago Silva must organize the back, Casemiro’s anchorage needs stylish balance and the front line is capable of supplying goals.
Brazil’s long, romantic love affair with the World Cup is set to continue. They have never recorded a breakup. He is her favorite suitor. Of all-time, he’s the one who has adorned her most beautifully with gowns, hairdos(with the famous Brazilian hair), shoes and jewelry, for which reason she loves him so much. So as he searches for his 6th star in Russia, don’t you think she’ll give it to him?
Yours in the beautiful game