Brazil in Pole Position to Qualify for Russia 2018- 18 October, 2016
As the South American World Cup Qualifying phase passes the half way stage, Brazil find themselves at the top of the table following a strong run of results. Former Corinthians manager Tite has certainly made a big impact since replacing Dunga following the Seleção’s hugely disappointing Copa America campaign, with four straight wins putting Brazil in a wonderful position to qualify for Russia 2018 and extend their record as the only nation to qualify for every World Cup in the competition’s history. The feel-good factor follows on from the triumph at the Olympics as Brazil’s Under 23 side completed the final piece of the jigsaw by winning the only trophy that the Seleção were missing from their illustrious cabinet, but while Betway have backed the senior team to complete the job, there is still a long way to go before fans can start looking forward to another World Cup involving Brazil.
Dunga, who did not enjoy the best of relationships with the national press, began to lose the dressing room as Brazil not only made a slow start to qualification, but also slumped at this summer’s Copa America in Chile. The manner of the 1-0 defeat against Peru may have been controversial, but the writing was ultimately on the wall for a team that needed a change in direction and fresh emphasis through a manager with fresh ideas. Despite reservations from Corinthians, Tite was the ideal replacement due to his eloquence and demeanour off the pitch – and so it has proved. Brazil have been transformed through the reintroduction of fast-flowing, attacking football for which the Seleção has been renowned for across the world for many years, with a high pressing game enabling the team to remain on top of the opposition. Daniel Alves has likened Tite to Pep Guardiola (high praise indeed) but given how well Brazil have played under him so far, it is easy to see similarities between the two in terms of how the Seleção play.
Scoring twelve goals and conceding just one is a sign of the difference Tite has made to how Brazil play, with the team rising from sixth to first in the qualifying standings since he took over. It has put the Seleção in a fantastic position, with the likes of Neymar and Philippe Coutinho in superb form. The main focus of attention, however, has been the emergence of 19-year-old sensation Gabriel Jesus who has scored four goals in as many games for Brazil; he scored two goals and made an assist for Neymar in a memorable debut in Ecuador as the team ran out convincing 3-0 winners. His superb chip in the 8th minute not only showcased the striker’s undoubted potential, but also set Brazil on their way to a 2-0 victory that took them top of the table ahead of Uruguay.
Tough upcoming games against Argentina, Peru and Uruguay will pose a challenge to Brazil’s perfect start under Tite, and if the Seleção can remain undefeated during the run of fixtures, then they could have one eye on qualification for the World Cup. A victory against Argentina, who have suffered a dip in form, next month in Belo Horizonte would be the perfect way for Tite to endear himself even further to the fans, with the option to cash out after your bet comes in with Betway likely to come into play during a rivalry on the pitch that is often decided by the finest of margins. Brazil’s chances will be boosted by the return of Neymar who missed the Venezuela match through suspension, and if he and Gabriel Jesus can continue to develop their blossoming partnership, then the Seleção could well put one over on Argentina and take one step closer towards Russia.
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