When in 2002 Cafu lifted the World Cup to the sky from the Yokohama International Stadium to crown Brazil as champion of the World Cup in Korea and Japan, no one imagined that the canarinha would meet, at least, two decades without returning to the top of the most important competition at national team level. In Qatar, Neymar and Vinícius Jr.’s ‘Seleçao’ start as one of the great favorites and will have a new opportunity to embroider the sixth star on your shirt after disappointing in the last four editions.

Scolari’s team at the time arrived in Asia as a wounded team, with much criticism due to the absence of Romario, and after a costly qualification. All doubts were dispelled when the tournament started. The rest is history: they didn’t lose a single game, Ronaldo was top scorer and golden boot, and they will always be remembered his famous haircut before the semifinal against Belgium to mislead about his injury.

Nothing to do with the expectation that surrounds the Brazilians this year. The great moment of Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain (15 goals and 12 assists in 20 games) and that of Vinícius Jr. at Real Madrid (10 goals and five assists in 21 games), a decisive Rodrygo about to to explode definitively, and the experience of Casemiro in the center of the field added to the temperance of Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Militao in defense, endorse the forecasts that place the ‘Seleçao’ champion.

Neymar in a match with Brazil (FILE photo) 11/16/2018

Brazil-Serbia schedule for the Qatar 2022 World Cup: where to watch the group stage match live online or on TV from Spain

The band of favourites, however, can play a trick on them, as has already happened to their greatest rival, Argentina, who suffered a heavy defeat in their World Cup debut against Saudi Arabia. From his experience he will have to learn the canarinha and extract a valuable lesson: not trust any rival, and even less against the first, Vlahovic’s Serbia this Thursday at 20:00.

The Tite footballers bring Qatar the desire for revenge after lose against the albiceleste in the final of the Copa América in Maracana last summer, and the bumps in the last two editions of the World Cup: the resounding defeat against Germany by 1-7 before his people in the semifinals of the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, the worst of the ‘verdeamarela’ in its history, and the failure in Russia in 2018, in which they fell 1-2 against Belgium in the quarterfinals. Brazil must take note of these defeats to get past the group stage and eliminate rivals in the following rounds until reaching the final.

Vinícius, Tite’s doubt

the brazilian coach has prepared with great care the debut of your team. Hence, their first line-up in the tournament is surrounded by secrecy and mystery, since the canarinha’s last training session was held behind closed doors so as not to give a single clue about the eleven players who will jump onto the pitch at the premiere in Brazil. . In the rest of the sessions the tone was similar, since the press could only access it in the first 15 minutes.

With just a few hours left for the ball to roll, the Tite’s main doubt It is whether to start with a footballer who has established himself as the heir to Neymar, the undisputed leader of this team, and is already considered one of its banners, Vinicius Jr. At 22, the carioca seems to have ceased to be a promise to become one of the best forwards in the world with a wide margin for improvement still ahead. This is endorsed by his successful campaign last season, with 22 goals, including the victory in the Champions League final, and 20 assists.

The alternative to the Madrid attacker is that of put in one more midfielder to strengthen the midfield against a Serbia that dominates the average perfectly. Lucas Paquetá, Bruno Guimaraes or Fabinho are the main candidates to occupy the last place in the first starting list.