World Cup team preview: Brazil

Neymar Firmino Brazil

With the attacking talents of Gabriel Jesus, Neymar, Roberto Firmino, Willian and Philippe Coutinho available to an astute coach like Tite, it is no surprise that Brazil are one of the hot favourites to win the World Cup.

Placed in a relatively easy Group E with Costa Rica, Serbia and Switzerland, Selecao are expected to cruise into the knockout stages with plenty of room to spare.

It appears it will be in the later rounds of the competition where the five-time World champions will be tested, although in every department they boast world class players.

Firmino Neymar Brazil

In the heart of defence – Marquinhos, Miranda and Thiago Silva are all the probable options for the two centre-back berths, while Marcelo will likely marshall the left-side of the back-four. On the right, Danilo is expected to do duty.

In the midfield three often favoured by Tite, Casemiro, Paulinho and Fernandinho are set to operate behind a front trio of Neymar, Jesus and Coutinho.

The Brazilians will no doubt have every motivation to do well this time around following their 7-1 hammering at the hands of Germany in the semi-finals in 2014 on home soil.

It was a dark day for the South American giants four years ago at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, and Brazil will want to go all out to restore their reputation as the best side in the world.

In addition, a hallmark of this team has been their defensive solidity during qualifying, suggesting they are playing a system that does not leave gaping holes at the back as it did at times under Luiz Felipe Scolari. In 18 matches, they conceded just 11 times.

With the rich wealth of talent available in the squad, reaching the final has to be the minimum expectation and anything less than that could be met with derision and anger back home.

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma), Ederson (Manchester City), Cassio (Corinthians).

Defenders: Miranda (Inter Milan), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Geromel (Gremio), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Fagner (Corinthians), Danilo (Manchester City), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid).

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Barcelona), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Willian (Chelsea), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk).

Forwards: Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Firmino (Liverpool), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk), Douglas Costa (Juventus)

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