Sunday evening resulted in a wondrous performance from Luiz Felipe Scolari’s charges that blew the current world champions out of the water with an exemplary 3-0 victory at the Maracana.
It also heralded the return of Brazil as a big international force once again. However, their comprehensive win now poses the question – are the Canarinha really ready to steal Spain’s crown?
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side looked great value for money at the weekend as they took control from very early on and bossed the tie right from the off. In truth, the Spanish were no match for them on the night as Brazil kept their best performance of the competition for when it mattered most. For now at least, the squad can bask in the glory of their cup triumph and enjoy the month or so they have off from competitive action. However they will have to return to action at some point and when they do, it will be with an increased level of expectation.
And along with this new-found expectation that will accompany their victory is a severe weight on each individual player’s shoulders – a pressure to continue to perform on the world’s biggest international stage at home, next year.
Of course, Brazil have often won this tournament before and many times they have failed miserably to repeat their victory on a bigger stage. In 2006 and 2010, A Selecao fell at the quarter final stage at the hands of France and the Netherlands respectively, so a win at The Festival of Football doesn’t always guarantee success, particularly when the likes of Argentina, Germany and Portugal are added in to the mix. So what does their emphatic dismantling of Spain do for them?
Certainly, it will serve to inject them with a huge amount of audacity. If the celebrations after the final whistle the other night revealed anything it was just how much this win means to this patchwork team. A team sewn together, importantly, by Scolari – a man who knows all about delivering medals to each and every squad member he hand picks. So, expect Brazil to advance further than the last-eight this time, driven by the will to be forever immortalised as the first Brazil side to lift the World Cup trophy on home soil.
Indubitably, it’s quite a burden to bear, but as long as it doesn’t become too troublesome for Thiago Silva and company, they should be there or thereabouts come World Cup final day.
Will the pressure prove too great for this batch of Brazilians or will they once again defy the odds?
Of course, only time will tell, but the forthcoming season of domestic football is going to be huge for many of these players. Take their star performer, Neymar for example.
Before a ball had even been kicked at the Confederations Cup, Neymar had struggled with the wrath of the temperamental Brazilian mob that is their fans. Ever since he had been singled out as the great new hope of the national side, he has had to learn to deal with his great billing, which he himself has contributed to with his sporadic yet wonderful achievements.
And, in all honesty he’s proven how well he can cope with an impeccable performance that has seen him win over the fans while simultaneously taking home the golden boot award as top scorer.
His transfer to Catalunyan giants, Barcelona coincided nicely with the beginning of the World Cup dress-rehearsal and he did well to deliver on his hype as well as ending his nine-match goal drought. So, if anything, the 21 year-old rising star is the embodiment of how much this Brazil squad can defy the odds.
Whether or not they can continue to do so, remains to be seen, but they certainly have the right mental capacity and strength in depth to give it their best shot.
Boylesports are currently offering the following odds on winning the World Cup 2014 outright: