Rock-solid Brazil living up to billing as favourites

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Jul 2018 12:10:10



SOCHI (Russia)

WHILE some of their biggest rivals have already fallen by the wayside in Russia, Brazil have been making serene progress towards the latter stages of the World Cup. After watching holders Germany, Spain and Argentina all exit the competition in the last week in various states of disarray, the Selecao eased into the quartess with a 2-0 victory against Mexico.As they aim to lift the World Cup for a record sixth time in Moscow on July 15, their next opponents are Belgium in Kazan on Friday, in what will be something of a clash of styles -- the best defence up against the best attack.

This Brazil team is not just about Neymar, even if his theatrics and intermittent magic, like his opener against Mexico, are what immediately catch the eye and dominate the headlines.
Look a little more closely and it becomes clear what is really making them tick -- coach Tite has instilled an admirable collective discipline and his team are built on solid foundations.They have conceded just one goal so far at this World Cup, and Steven Zuber’s effort for Switzerland in a 1-1 draw in Rostov-on-Don could have been disallowed for a foul on Joao Miranda. Since then, goalkeeper Alisson Becker has kept three straight clean sheets, with Brazil winning 2-0 against Costa Rica, Serbia and Mexico.

They have conceded just four shots on target in four matches.
It is the kind of record that the Italians, the old defensive masters who are conspicuous by their absence in Russia, would have been proud of. Brazil are looking to Italy for inspiration. “Juventus have been champions for the last seven years, and only once without having the best defence,” said Tite’s assistant Sylvinho, the former Arsenal and Barcelona left-back, after the Mexico game.