Brazil is clearly one of the best teams in the tournament and one of the contenders for the ultimate victory. Few teams have had the abundance of talent that Brazil has had throughout its football history.
The challenge will be to make them coexist on the field, but we are certain that Mister Zagallo will do his best. The two active players selected are Thiago Silva and Neymar. The first one is undoubtedly one of the strongest and most complete defenders in Brazilian history, so his call-up is not surprising. The latter is Neymar, one of the brightest talents in recent years.
Clearly, their selection has excluded other active players, such as a goalkeeper with good footwork (Alisson or Ederson) or a modern defensive midfielder who, in our opinion, would have been extremely useful (Casemiro or Fabinho).
As for the rest, we are talking about a top-level squad, with four outstanding full-backs (probably no other national team can field four full-backs of such strength), a midfield with flair and precision (although perhaps lacking a bit of physicality and height), and a spectacular attacking department.
The choice to call up Careca is interesting – he will likely be the backup for R9 – a highly complete center-forward, accustomed to European football, and somewhat underrated.
Mister Zagallo has drawn players from various historical eras, with all the pros and cons that come with it: from early reports, it seems that several players are working separately (Garrincha, Didi, Cerezo) and probably won’t be ready for the debut.
Interview with the Manager
Good morning, Mister. Let’s get straight to the point: do you believe that Brazil is the strongest contender for the ultimate victory?
(Laughs) We are certainly a very strong team with a lot of talent, but I believe there are several other equally strong teams out there!
Was it difficult to choose the 25 players?
It was extremely difficult. Truly. No other nation has the abundance of talent that we have, so I had to reluctantly leave behind many champions whom I would have loved to bring on this fantastic journey.
Have you heard Romario’s interview where he claims he is not anyone’s substitute? How do you respond to that?
No, I haven’t heard it yet, to be honest, but there are so many stars in this team. In our first meeting, I asked everyone to row in the same direction: talent counts, it’s true, but playing as a team counts even more. Baixinho is a born winner and always wants to be in the spotlight, and I understand that well!
Several people have criticized the omission of a goalkeeper who is good with his feet and a physically strong defensive midfielder. Do you agree?
Everyone has their opinions, and I respect them. Personally, I consider our squad to be of absolute quality. If I had called up Casemiro, I would have been criticized for not calling up someone else! As for the goalkeepers, Gilmar is an extraordinary goalkeeper and person. He has won two World Cups and is a legend, while Taffarel won the ’94 World Cup and is an excellent presence in the dressing room. The other 10 players will handle the game’s build-up (smiles).
Players like Didi or Garrincha come from a very different era of football. Do you think they will struggle to adapt to the pace of modern football?
Absolutely not. What matters is technique and creativity, in which they have no rivals. Athleticism, endurance, or speed can always be trained, and that’s what we are doing. For some players like them or Nilton Santos, we have arranged separate preparations to enhance their athletic abilities. They probably won’t be present in the early games, but that’s the price we pay to have them at 100% later on!
We have seen that the chemistry between Pelé, Ronaldo, and Zico is already phenomenal. Any comments on that?
Absolutely true! The three of them already connect with each other effortlessly, and I’m convinced that if they continue this way, they will be unstoppable. I also want to draw attention to the incredible work of Falcao. He dictates the tempo of our gameplay, and although he may be less flashy than other teammates, he hardly makes any mistakes. He will be our brain.
Maradona has said that Brazil is a team of surfers or jugglers and will not go far in the competition. Any comments on that?
Diego is an extraordinary player whom I greatly admire, but I suggest he focuses on what is happening within his national team’s dressing room instead of making unfounded statements!
Goalkeepers: Gilmar, Cláudio Taffarel
Defenders: Cafu (c), Roberto Carlos, Aldair, *Thiago Silva, Lúcio, Nílton Santos, Edinho, Carlos Alberto Torres
Midfielders: Zico, Falcão, Dunga, Zito, Didi, Rivaldo, Toninho Cerezo, Rivelino
Forwards: Pelé, Ronaldo, Garrincha, Romário, Ronaldinho, Careca, *Neymar
Manager: Mário Zagallo
In the pre-World Cup friendlies, Mister Zagallo primarily used three formations: 4-3-3, 4-2-4, and 4-2-3-1.
In reality, it’s all very fluid, especially in the attack, where players frequently interchange positions and do not provide fixed reference points.
The team enjoys controlling the game and dictating the tempo of play: the two full-backs (Cafu and Roberto Carlos) are highly offensive and, when not in possession of the ball, push forward to provide width to the game, while Dunga acts as a defensive shield in front of the defense, providing cover for the full-backs’ advances.
The build-up play starts from the feet of Thiago Silva in defense and initially progresses slowly and methodically, only to suddenly burst forward from the midfield onward. Through rapid triangular passing movements, the Seleção swiftly approaches the goal within seconds.
We have noticed excellent chemistry between Zico, Pelé, and Ronaldo, who seem to understand each other almost instinctively, while Garrincha, in the few minutes he has played, appears to still be lacking match fitness.
In particular, Galinho acts as a link between the midfield and the attack, moving between the lines.
The coach is focusing heavily on immediate ball recovery (gegenpressing), off-the-ball movements of certain players (Falcao, Careca), and defensive schemes, where the team can certainly improve.
One of the probable starting lineups for Brazil
Brazil vs. Bayer Leverkusen: 3-1 16, 24′ Ronaldo; 60′ Schick (pen) , 90′ Rivaldo
Brazil vs. Parma: 6-0 5, 22, 33′ Pelé, 45+1’Ronaldinho, 77′ Falcão, 82′ Zico
Brazil vs. West Ham: 3-1 51′ Antonio, 52′ Pelé, 55′ Ronaldo (pen.), 88’Zico
Brazil vs. Sevilla: 2-1 2′ Careca, 55’Thiago Silva, 90+2′ Ocampos (pen.)