2018 could be Neymar's World Cup, however there are question marks over his temperament.
Brazil World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide
Brazil have been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup.
Brazil vs Belgium – Quarter Final, 6th July Kazan Match Report
Belgium Starting XI: 1 Thibaut Courtois, 2 Toby Alderweirald, 4 Vincent Kompany, 5 Jan Vertonghen, 6 Axel Witsel, 7 Kevin De Bruyne, 8 Marouane Fellaini, 9 Romelu Lukaku (17 Youri Tielemans 87), 10 Eden Hazard, 15 Thomas Meunier, 22 Nacer Chadli (2 Thomas Vermaelen 83)
Brazil Starting XI: 1 Alisson, 2 Thiago Silva, 3 Miranda, 9 Gabriel Jesus (7 Douglas Costa 58), 10 Neymar, 11 Philippe Coutinho, 12 Marcelo, 15 Paulinho (8 Renato Augusto 73), 17 Fernandinho, 19 Willian (20 Roberto Firmino 46), 22 Fagner
Brazil 1 Belgium 2
Brazil: Renato Augusto 76
Belgium: Fernandhinho 13og, De Bruyne 31
Belgium reached their second ever World Cup semi-final after an enthralling game in Kazan. Brazil had no answer to the Belgian front three of Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard and though they mounted a spirited second-half comeback could not prevent their exit from the tournament.
Brazil had good chances from two corners in the first 10 minutes but Thiago Silva and Paulinho both fluffed their lines. Instead it was Belgium who took the lead from a corner, Vincent Kompany’s header deflecting in off the unfortunate Fernandinho.
Brazil were without the suspended Casemiro and Belgium, with Marouane Fellaini brought in to reinforce midfield, won the central battle against Fernandinho and Paulinho. That allowed De Bruyne to thrive in more forward role and he scored a wonderful second goal when Belgium broke at speed following a Brazil corner.
The second-half introduction of Roberto Firmino and Douglas Costa gave Brazil more purpose in the final third and their last sub, Renato Augusto, made an instant impact when his header brought Brazil back into the game.
Renato Augusto and Coutinho missed chances to take the match into extra time, and when Thibaut Courtois saved brilliantly from Coutinho in stoppage time, Brazil’s time at the tournament was up.
Matter of fact
This was the first time Brazil have conceded two goals in a game under Tite.
Brazil were aggrieved when Vincent Kompany tripped Gabriel Jesus but VAR ruled out the penalty. Neymar also had a late appeal turned down when he missed a header under Thomas Meunier’s challenge; earlier Brazil’s number 10 should have been booked for a dive in the penalty area, but a booking would have ruled him out of a semi-final.
Possession (%): 57/43
Goal attempts: 26/7
Attempts on target: 8/3
Pass accuracy (%): 88/83
Distance covered (km): 104/105
Brazil vs Mexico – Round of 16 (2nd July) Match Report
Brazil Starting XI: 1 Alisson, 2 Thiago Silva, 3 Miranda, 5 Casemiro, 6 Filipe Luis, 9 Gabriel Jesus, 10 Neymar, 11 Philippe Coutinho (20 Roberto Firmino 86), 15 Paulinho (17 Fernandinho 80), 19 Willian (13 Marquinhos 90+1), 22 Fagner
Mexico Starting XI: 13 Guillermo Ochoa, 2 Hugo Ayala, 3 Carlos Salcedo, 4 Rafa Marquez (7 Miguel Layun 46), 11 Carlos Vela, 14 Javier Hernandez (9 Raul Jimenez 59), 16 Hector Herrera, 18 Andres Guardado, 21 Edson Alvarez (6 Jonathan Dos Santos 55), 22 Hirving Lozano, 23 Jesus Gallardo
Brazil 2 Mexico 0
Brazil: Neymar 51, Firmino 88
Brazil stepped up a gear to see off Mexico and reach the quarter-finals after a match played in intense heat in Samara. Mexico played their part in an enthralling encounter but exited the tournament at the same stage (last 16) for the seventh successive time.
Mexico began brightly and Brazil struggled to cope with their opponents’ heavy pressing in the first half. But after Neymar opened up the Mexican defence for the breakthrough goal, Mexico faded in the heat as their exertions in the final group defeat to Sweden caught up with them.
Matter of fact
Rafa Maquez, aged 39 years and four months, was twice as old as full-back Edson Alvarez.
Brazil, with 227 goals, overtook Germany as the all-time top scorers at the World Cup.
Neymar’s brilliance won the game for Brazil but he earned ridicule for his over-reaction to Miguel Layun’s touchline foul.
Possession (%): 46/54
Goal attempts: 21/13
Attempts on target: 7/4
Pass accuracy (%): 82/83
Distance covered (km): 92/89
Brazil vs Serbia (27th June) Match Report
Brazil Starting XI: 1 Alisson, 2 Thiago Silva, 3 Miranda, 5 Casemiro, 9 Gabriel Jesus, 10 Neymar, 11 Philippe Coutinho (8 Renato Augusto 80), 12 Marcelo (6 Filipe Luis 10), 15 Paulinho (17 Fernandinho 66), 19 Willian, 22 Fagner
Serbia Starting XI: 1 Vladimir Stojkovic, 2 Antonio Rukavina, 9 Aleksandar Mitrovic (19 Luka Jovic 89), 10 Dusan Tadic, 11 Aleksandar Kolarov, 13 Milos Veljkovic, 15 Nikola Milenkovic, 17 Filip Kostic (18 Nemanja Radonjic 82), 20 Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, 21 Nemanja Matic, 22 Adam Ljajic (7 Andrija Zivkovic 75)
Serbia 0 Brazil 2
Brazil: Paulinho 36, Thiago Silva 68
Brazil eased through the gears and into the knockout stage as group winners after goals from Paulinho and Thiago Silva saw off the challenge of Serbia.
Serbia offered little threat in the first half but enjoyed a sustained spell of pressure early after the break. Two headed chances for Aleksandar Mitrovic were not taken and Brazil doubled their advantage from a corner.
Serbia’s intensity dropped off after the second goal although Neymar, enjoying his best game yet in the tournament, went close to extending Brazil’s lead on a number of occasions.
Serbia dropped Luka Milivojevic and switched Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to a deeper role but aside from a spell of pressure early in the second half, did little to threaten Brazil.
Possession (%): 44/56
Goal attempts: 10/13
Attempts on target: 5/3
Pass accuracy (%): 78/88
Distance covered (km): 114/105
Brazil vs Costa Rica (22nd June) Match Report
Brazil Starting XI: 1 Alisson, 2 Thiago Silva, 3 Miranda, 5 Casemiro, 9 Gabriel Jesus (17 Fernandinho 90+3), 10 Neymar, 11 Philippe Coutinho, 12 Marcelo, 15 Paulinho (20 Roberto Firmino 68), 19 Willian (7 Douglas Costa 46), 22 Fagner
Costa Rica Starting XI: 1 Keylor Navas, 2 Johnny Acosta, 3 Giancarlo Gonzalez, 5 Celso Borges, 6 Oscar Duarte, 8 Bryan Oviedo, 10 Bryan Ruiz, 11 Johan Venegas, 16 Cristian Gamboa (15 Francisco Calvo 75), 20 Davi Guzman (17 Yeltsin Tajeda 83), 21 Marco Urena (7 Christian Bolanos 54)
Brazil 2 Costa Rica 0
Brazil: Coutinho 90+1, Neymar 90+7
Costa Rica: none
Injury-time goals from Philippe Coutinho and Neymar spared Brazil’s blushes and gave them a deserved victory against a stubborn Costa Rica side who almost held on for a point.
Celso Borges missed an early chance but Costa Rica spent the bulk of the game on the back foot as Brazil created a succession of chances – for Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Coutinho – only to be denied by keeper Keylor Navas and the woodwork.
Substitute Roberto Firmino joined Gabriel Jesus in attack as Brazil switched to a 4-4-2 and the front two combined to set up Coutinho for the late breakthrough.
Neymar, furious when his play-acting culminated in a VAR intervention that reversed a penalty decision, collapsed in tears on the final whistle, soon after claiming Brazil’s second goal.
Matter of fact
Neymar’s 56th goal for his country took him to third place in the all-time list, one ahead of Romario but still behind Ronaldo (62) and Pele (77).
Neymar was left fuming when referee Bjorn Kuipers reversed his decision to award a penalty after Brazil’s number 10 had fallen under the challenge of Gonzalez claiming his shirt had been pulled. VAR did its job – to stop game-changing errors – when Kuipers changed his mind after reviewing the pitchside monito’]r and decided that Gonzalez had not pulled Neymar back.
Possession (%): 67/33
Goal attempts: 23/4
Attempts on target: 9/4
Pass accuracy (%): 88/69
Distance covered (km): 105/109
Brazil vs Switzerland (17th June) Match Report
One of the favourites going in, can Brazil forget about their 2014 demons? – Match preview here
Brazil Starting XI: 1 Alisson, 2 Thiaso Silva, 3 Miranda, 5 Casemiro (17 Fernandinho 60), 9 Gabriel Jesus (20 Roberto Firmino 79), 10 Neymar, 11 Philippe Coutinho, 12 Marcelo, 14 Danilo, 15 Paulinho (8 Renato Augusto 67), 19 Willian
Switzerland Starting XI: 1 Yann Sommer, 2 Stefan Lichtsteiner (6 Michael Lang 87), 5 Manuel Akanji, 9 Haris Seferovic (7 Breel Embolo 80), 10 Granit Xhaka, 11 Valon Behrami (17 Denis Zakaria 70), 13 Ricardo Rodriguez, 14 Steven Zuber, 15 Blerim Dzemaili, 22 Fabian Schar, 23 Xherden Shaqiri
Brazil 1 Switzerland 1
Brazil: Coutinho 35
Switzerland: Zuber 50
Brazil were frustrated and held to a draw by Switzerland in their opening game after Steven Zuber’s controversial header cancelled out Philippe Coutinho’s spectacular goal.
The pre-tournament favourites took a deserved lead but their play dropped off after scoring the opener and they could not raise their game when Switzerland equalised with Steven Zuber’s header early in the second half.
Neymar, who was heavily fouled throughout, was one of a number of Brazilians who had late chances to grab the winner, but Switzerland, who had no shots on goal after their equaliser, held out.
Matter of fact
Valon Behrami became the first Swiss player to appear at four World Cups.
Granit Xhaka and Haris Seferovic were part of the Swiss side that beat a Brazil team containing Alisson, Neymar, Coutinho, Casemiro at the 2009 Under-17 World Cup.
The Brazilian federation launched a formal complaint to FIFA about the refereeing, claiming that Switzerland’s equaliser should have been ruled out after a push by Zuber on Miranda just before he jumped to head the ball home, but VAR ruled that the goal stood.
Goal attempts: 20/6
Attempts on target: 9/4
Pass accuracy: 88/83
Distance covered: 103/108
Brazil World Cup Guide
A desperate struggle – Brazil were down in sixth place with a third of the campaign gone – turned into a triumphant and exhilarating victory parade from the moment that Tite replaced Dunga as coach. Following the new coach’s appointment, Brazil then put together 10 wins and two draws to seal their place at the 2018 World Cup with four rounds to spare. Question marks remain over the team’s temperament, particularly that of Neymar. Against Ecuador he was over-concerned with drawing fouls and a routine game became a tense occasion. He lost control, picked up a yellow card for a crude foul and missed four games through suspension. It remains to be seen whether he or others explode under pressure.
Key Moments in Qualifying
Failure to get out of the group stage of the Copa Centenario saw coach Dunga lose his job and Tite come in as his replacement.
Tite’s first game, away to Ecuador, was a nervy affair. The game was goalless with 20 minutes to go and Brazil would have probably taken a draw at that point. But debutant Gabriel Jesus forced a penalty, soon after the hosts had a man sent off and the Selecao went on to win 3-0.
A goal up at home to Argentina, Lionel Messi was looking dangerous for the visitors until, on the stroke of half-time, Jesus played a reverse ball into the path of Neymar, who put the game beyond their rivals’ reach.
Brazil did show they may have resolve as well as talent by winning 4-1 in Uruguay after going a goal behind.
Brazil World Cup Group
Brazil World Cup Friendlies
On the 23rd of March Brazil played against World Cup hosts Russia and won handily 3-0 with goals from Miranda, Coutinho, and Paulinho. They then beat Germany on the 27th, and then Ivan Rakitic and Croatia on the 3rd of June. Their final game was a 3-0 victory over Austria.
- 23rd March – Russia (won 3-0)
- 27th March- Germany (won 1-0)
- 3rd June – Croatia (won 2-0)
- 10th June – Austria (won 3-0)
Brazil World Cup Fixtures
Tite, age 56 (25.05.61)
Appointed in June 2016, he is an intelligent and charismatic figure who won domestic, continental and world titles with Corinthians before taking time off to carry out an in-depth study of top-class European football.
Related: What Life for Tite After Brazil?
Coming into his peak years, Neymar is full of dazzling improvisation at pace and is a constant threat. Providing he can keep his head, this World Cup could be his tournament.
Paulinho was a controversial recall, but Tite is well aware of his virtues from their time together at Corinthians.
Gabriel Jesus came in and immediately solved Brazil’s centre-forward problem, scoring seven goals despite only starting half the games. But will he be jaded after a first full season in the Premier League? The appearance of goalkeeper Ederson in the final game may be telling.
Brazil World Cup Squad
Final World Cup Squad –
GOALKEEPERS: Alisson (Roma), Ederson (Manchester City), Cassio (Corinthians).
DEFENDERS: Danilo (Manchester City), Fagner (Corinthians), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Silva, Marquinhos (both Paris St-Germain), Miranda (Inter Milan) Pedro Geromel (Gremio).
MIDFIELDERS: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Barcelona), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Willian (Chelsea), Douglas Costa (Juventus).
Probable Starting XI
Alisson, Marcelo, Silva, Miranda, Danilo, Casemiro, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Coutinho, Neymar, Jesus
Brazil World Cup Injuries
Neymar fractured his metatarsal for Paris Saint Germain and it is questionable whether he will be 100% fit by June.
Dani Alves has suffered a knee injury and will miss the tournament.
The Unanswered Questions
Have they been truly tested yet?
Tite’s team were magnificent against a disappointing crop of South American rivals, but stiffer tests lie ahead. That point was illustrated by the collapse of Argentina’s defence against Nigeria on the same day Brazil were held by an inexperienced England side.
Would the side benefit from appointing a permanent captain?
Without a natural candidate for the role of on-field leader, Tite has been choosing a different skipper for every match and plans to continue doing so in Russia. Brazil sides have often been at their best with a vocal leader.
Can they cover the vulnerable space behind the full-backs?
Both Dani Alves and Marcelo are rampaging attacking full-backs but neither is great defensively. Opponents will surely seek to probe the space they leave behind them. With Alves picking up his injury, Tite does have options at right back though.
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