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Former hero Ronaldo backs Brazil to end 16-year wait in Russia

13 June 2018

Brazil striker Neymar moved equal with one of his country's all-time greats in an ominous pre-World Cup performance against Austria. "Sixty percent of our goals are scored in the second half".

Before departing to Russia, Brazil defeated Austria 3:0 in a friendly match.

Other attackers like Taison, Douglas Costa and Roberto Firmino will be able to support the team from the bench, and this attacking depth will speak volumes of Brazil's options in attack. Brazil then meet the tricky Serbia, who will also be looking for qualification from this group, but the South Americans are expected to breeze past their European opponents.

"That gives you confidence".

'We need Neymar on the field'.

2016's Copa America Centenario didn't go much better and saw the Brazilian's exit the tournament at the group stages for the first time since 1987. Brazil's build-up play became stodgy and laboured. Where the intrigue lies is with Willian, Philippe Coutinho and Fernandinho.

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Neymar took it sportingly, for he probably knew that he was the one who had started it earlier! He also led the national team to victory in the Confederation Cup that very year.

Coutinho wasn't the only player targeted though. The PSG forward suffered an injury while playing for PSG last season and has only recently returned to action and Alisson is confident the former Barcelona star is ready to take the World Cup by storm.

If Brazil want to lift the cup, Neymar needs to remain fit throughout the tournament something he couldn't do in 2014. "It is our style of play", elaborated Tite. He's sure to score a few more over the next several weeks.

Germany and Brazil are the pretournament favorites, and France is fancied behind them with a young roster.

Casemiro will join Paulinho/Fernandinho and Coutinho to form a balanced midfield.

There will be no 7-1 scoreline this year.

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By Samindra Kunti The Brazilian superstar's return leaves Tite bewildered; coach says team prepared for the opener. For the most part, before the Mohamed Salah injury in particular, it worked. However, with two excellent ball-playing and passing center-backs, along with offensive-minded full-backs, play can often simply go through and around him. Brazil could face Germany in the final, if they can hold their nerves and forget about the nightmare of 2014, they could finally ad another title to their already glorious trophy cabinet. However, it does not mean that fans and his Selecao teammates aren't thrilled and relieved to see him back.

They play their first match against Switzerland on Sunday.

On paper, Brazil's attacking prowess is frightening. The Barcelona midfielder had six goals in qualifying, including at hat-trick against Uruguay in a 4-1 win.

Neymar was running at full stride against Austria.

Opposition will focus on stopping the front three, and rightfully so. Neymar, Thiago Silva, Willian, Fernandinho and Marcelo make up the quintet, and they, more than anyone else, will be eager to banish the memories of four years ago.

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Former hero Ronaldo backs Brazil to end 16-year wait in Russia