Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

How the FIFA World Cup favourites are shaping up

How the FIFA World Cup favourites are shaping up

There were great concerns in Brazil as star player Neymar suffered an injury to his right foot in February, with many fearing he will not be in fit in time for the World Cup finals in Russian Federation.

Neymar joked about Austria's tactics after Brazil cruised to a 3-0 friendly win on Sunday and said his team are dreaming big ahead of FIFA World Cup 2018.

Tournament favourites Brazil will now head out to Russian Federation to continue preparations for their group-stage opener against Switzerland. Yeah, he's ready for the World Cup. They are five-time winners of the competition, but have not actually lifted the famous trophy since 2002, which is simply too long for a team of their ilk.

Brazil made it to the semi finals on home soil, but the lack of a genuine centre forward meant their challenge was always likely to falter, although nobody could have predicted the wheels would fall off quite so spectacularly against Germany in that infamous 7-1 defeat.

The mauling by Germany hurt then, and it still does now.

Under Tite, Brazil have regained the swagger that has been missing from recent World Cup squads.

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The Austrians did manage to carve out a couple of openings, although they were unable to bypass goalkeeper Alisson as the encounter finished 3-0.

Tite, who also said he would confirm his starting XI for Brazil's World Cup opener against Switzerland on Thursday, was pleased with his team's performance with a week left to prepare.

Costa's return was also good news for Tite. The ace forward is his country's biggest hope at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation and will be tasked with spearheading the Tite-coached team's attack.

Brazil have not lost in 10 games, a run that stretches back a year, while they have kept 16 clean sheets in 21 games since coach Tite took over in June 2016.

The team have great balance as well, with Casemiro protecting a solid defence. That is without mentioning Roma goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who is now being coveted by the biggest clubs in European football.

Barcelona star Coutinho hit the bar with 16 minutes left when he almost caught Lindner out.

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