Another World Cup is here and Brazil fans around the world are living the 'Hexa' dream. Let us check out what could help them lift their sixth title on the biggest stage of world football.
1. Because they are Brazil
Being the most successful team in the history of the World Cup with five titles, Brazil are always hot favourites. Many fans are yet to forget the 1-7 humiliation at the hands of eventual winners Germany four years back, but they have a squad that can demolish any team on their day. The last time they won the coveted trophy was in 2002, which is almost 16 years back and the Brazil faithful believe it is about time the Selecaos win it back.
After his record breaking transfer to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona, things did not exactly happen the way the Brazilian had wanted. He got injured in February and PSG were knocked out of the Champions League in the Round of 16.
However, Neymar has marked his return with two goals in two matches for the Selecaos. He has already scored 55 goals for the national team and one more will make him leapfrog Romario, the hero of 1994, to sit third in the all-time top-scorers' chart. Should he score seven in the tournament, he will be jointly second with Ronaldo (62), the Golden Boot winner of 2002.
Enough temptations for him to firing all cylinders.
3. Wealth of attacking options
Gabriel Jesus. Phelippe Coutinho. Roberto Firmino. Although the latter is not certain of a start, the first two are enough to tear the opposition into pieces. Then there is Paulinho who has scored as many goals as Neymar (six) in the qualiying, and there is this goal-scoring midfielder Willian, meaning they are never short of firepower.
Brazil scored 30 goals in their last 12 World Cup qualifying matches, and there is no doubt they will be feared by their opponents.
Although AS Roma shot-stopper Alisson could not help his team reach the final of the Champions League, he was in sensational form for club and country. Brazil kept 10 clean sheets in the qualifying and have not conceded a single goal in their last five matches (although friendlies), including ties against England and Germany, which shows how rock solid they are at the back.
Safe gloves is the cornerstone of almost all the World Cup winning teams and in Alisson Brazil has someone they can count on. You have to feel sorry for Manchester City custodian Ederson, who also had a sensational season but will now have to play second fiddle to the Roma 'keeper.
5. The Manager
Tite was appointed the Brazil coach at a time when they were languishing sixth in the qualifying and could not even make it past the group stages of the Copa America Centenario, the special edition of the tournament to mark its 100 years. Needless to say, he has turned things around. Brazil finished top of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) qualifying, that too with a 10-point lead over second-placed Uruguay. In the 21 matches he has managed, Brazil have won 17 and lost only once.
The Brazil board had made the right call it seems.