WORLD CUP FORECAST: Group A – Can Brazil win a sixth World Cup title?

Hosts Brazil will have the hefty weight and lofty expectations of a massive nation heaped squarely on their shoulders at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
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Hosts Brazil will have the hefty weight and lofty expectations of a massive nation heaped squarely on their shoulders at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

A Selecao are well-placed to hold aloft an unprecedented sixth World Cup trophy with manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, who led the nation to the 2002 title, able to choose from a plethora of quality players performing in all the top competitions around the world.

In Group A, they meet Europe’s Croatia, Africa’s Cameroon and CONCACAF’s Mexico – who have qualified via an intercontinental playoff over New Zealand.

As this is not seen as a very difficult group, Brazil will be expected to finish top and move into the Round of 16 full of confidence ahead of a potential match-up with either 2010 winners Spain or runners-up Holland who will be contesting Group B.

However, stranger things have happened at World Cups in the past so don’t pencil in the Brazilians to simply get the job done in what could be one of the most hotly-contested tournaments in recent memory.

Brazil

Manager: Luiz Felipe Scolari

Fixtures: Croatia - June 12 (Sao Paulo), Mexico - June 17 (Fortaleza), Cameroon - June 23 (Brasilia)

Past outings against group opponents: Brazil last met Croatia at the 2006 WC, winning 1-0 in Berlin, following their 1-1 friendly draw in 2005 in Split. They are the only times the two countries have met.

The last clash with Mexico took place at the 2013 Confederations Cup in June with Brazil winning 2-0 in Fortaleza where coincidentally they will meet again. Brazil have won 22 and lost 10 of the 38 outings between the two sides. Their WC record is three wins from three over El Tri.

Brazil has beaten Cameroon three times with the Indomitable Lions saluting once in their four meetings. The most recent was a 1-0 win to Cameroon in the 2003 Confederations Cup in Paris.

Key players: Neymar (Barcelona), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg)

World Cup utopia: To hold trophy aloft.

Doomsday scenario: Not making it past the group stage would be an absolute disaster. Not getting past the Round of 16 would also be a failure. Short of that, losing even one match in the group stage would be seen as a disappointment.

Qualified by virtue of: Being hosts.

Best result at a World Cup: WON (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)

tribal’s forecast:

Everybody expects Brazil to finish top of Group A and here at tribalfootball we are no different.

Their squad is extremely deep and I don’t envy Scolari’s job of trying to decide on 23 players when there is so much talent around.

The most difficult match appears to be the opener against Croatia – who only shipped nine goals in 10 qualifying matches in a group that consisted of the impressive Belgium and arch rivals Serbia. This fixture will open the 2014 World Cup and with the the entire world watching, any slip-up will be widely criticised.

The Mexico contest may not trouble Brazil quite as much after El Tri battled into fourth place in CONCACAF before dominating the Kiwis in their playoff while the final group stage match-up with Cameroon should also yield a victory after the Africans were held to a 0-0 draw by Tunisia before winning 4-1 at home in their CAF third round qualifier.

Brazil are often fancied to go far at World Cups and 2014 is no exception with at least a berth in the final on the cards.

Scolari’s men are almost certain to progress to the knockout stages and although they are likely to meet dangerous opponents in the quarters and semis, Brazil should have the quality to produce the results they require to set up a tasty Rio final, quite possibly with the Spaniards, on July 13.

If there was ever a time for the talented Brazilians to stand up, it is this summer, in front of their expectant home supporters .

Prediction: Finalists.

 
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