World Cup Preview, Group A: Brazil
JOE casts it's beady eye on to the host nation and tournament favourites ahead of the big World Cup kick-off on June 12th
The current golden boy of Brazilian football is Neymar (pic below). He's had a disappointing debut season with Barcelona, but there is no questioning his ability. He was the main man for Brazil as they stormed to the Confederations Cup last year and we think he'll be primed and ready to put on a show for the fans at home. He is adored and loved in Brazil and this will help him thrive.
He arrived at Barcelona with a big price tag and the fans were not always supportive of him. He strikes us as the type of player who needs to feel loved and if he shows a modicum of his ability in the opening game against Croatia, he will be fending off the bouquets and adoration raining down from the stands. Neymar will be Brazil's go-to man and could potentially be the star man at this World Cup.
It's a very experienced Brazilian squad, but there are one or two players with only a handful of caps. One of those players is Willian who impressed hugely for Chelsea in the second half of the season. So much so that he took over from another Brazilian, Oscar, towards the end of the season. Jose Mourinho was obviously impressed as he shelled out £32m to prise him away from Donetsk.
He can play on the wing, central midfield and even just in the pocket behind the striker. Although very familiar to people who watch the Premier League, we think Willian could be the secret weapon for Brazil this summer.
Did you know?
After their shock World Cup Final defeat to Uruguay on home soil in 1950, in which Brazil had played in white shirts, there was an outcry from the Brazilian public stating that the shirts lacked patriotism. A national newspaper ran a competition to design a new, more patriotic design incorporating the colours of their flag. The yellow jersey was first worn in a match against Chile in 1954 and has remained the colour of choice ever since.
Reasons for Irish fans to support them
It's Brazil for crying out loud! If any team is synonymous with the World Cup, then surely it is the men from Brazil. They evoke memories of great World Cup moments in history and have had so many amazing players donning the famous canary yellow jerseys. Still in doubt? Here's a video of some of those brilliant players scoring brilliant goals.
If they were a TV series
They'd have to be a successful series seeing as they are the most successful World Cup team ever. With that in mind, we have to go with The Simpsons. There is an obvious colour connection too, but The Simpsons is probably the best known and most successful TV show ever made.
Much will depend on how they handle the pressure of being on home soil. If they get off to a good start in their opening match against a tough looking Croatia side, they will have momentum and could be the team to beat. Spain may be the champions, but Brazil for me, will be the team everyone has to beat.
Ladbrokes Betting Odds - 3/1