What to Watch for on TV—How Messi, Neymar, Kroos, and Others Play
Based on Rivaldo’s notorious flop near the corner flag in the 2002 World Cup, Brazil might forever be worthy of the “Top Flop Team” award…an honor Neymar’s team may want to stray away from.
Over the years, every team in the world has been inspired by Brazil. Interestingly, in today’s game, Brazil is now caught in a position of keeping up with the pack, as one of the gods of world soccer. Since 2008, Spain and Germany have continued on a path of success in the modern era (even though Spain is likely returning to a path of normal). Now, somewhat lost by comparison, Brazil has to learn from these teams in an attempt to use tactics from the “new” refined European style (which relies on principles of sound possession to outwill an opponent), while redefining their “old” samba rhythm.
If Neymar and supporting staff are healthy, Brazil should have a huge impact on the tournament. Watch for quick, upbeat passing, with Neymar seeing plenty of the ball, exuding his dribbling prowess whenever he can, exploiting the sides while also turning into the middle, causing danger for opposing defenders. With Brazil, quick combination passes open up the wings for overlapping outside defenders who are chosen for their ability to attack down the line. If all these parts are operating at full-throttle, Brazil should be a handful for any opponent and a pleasure to watch.
Overall Team Rating: 9.2, bordering on 8.8
Despite Neymar and the successful World Cup qualification run making it appear as though Brazil is a solid 10, the samba beat struggled in the 2016 Copa America, and many lineup choices are not reflective of Brazil’s true artistic potential. For that reason, even though they’re a favorite to win the whole thing, they are a 9.2, slipping into the 8.8 range.