Brazil have the best forward line at the tournament. The difference between now and four years ago is the greater level of security behind the marquee attackers at the Selecao’s disposal.
Security comes from Real Madrid destroyer Casemiro. He’s the best defensive midfielder in Europe, one whose positional sense is flawless, while his tackling is forceful and consistent.
Brazil didn’t have a player like Casemiro in 2014 when their midfield was overrun by Germany on home soil. The selecao were drubbed 7-1 by the eventual winners at the semifinal stage in Belo Horizonte while key man Thiago Silva was missing from the heart of defense.
Keeping the 33-year-old center-back fit will be vital for coach Tite. It will also be important for Barcelona duo Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho to be forward-thinking in midfield.
Getting the ball to the forwards quickly has to be Brazil’s de facto way of playing. Tite can choose any combination from Neymar, Willian, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino and Douglas Costa, and still be assured of goals and flair.
No other squad is as well-equipped in every area as this group. Brazil look like obvious winners.