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Odds favour Cup favourites Brazil with Neymar raring to rewrite history

New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be underway this weekend with the host nation kicking off the campaign against Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday.

Brazil are currently ranked No. 1 in FIFA Rankings and is the favourite to lift the trophy. It’s been two decades since they got their hands on the most prestigious prize in world football. Brazil had last won the World Cup in 2002 when it was hosted by Japan and Korea, beating Germany 2-0 in the final.

The Selecao are on a 15-match unbeaten run entering the World Cup, dating to their last loss at the Copa America final against Argentina. Neymar continues to show his dominant performance for Paris Saint-Germain with 11 goals and nine assists in Ligue 1.

After a disappointing end to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to injury, Neymar had a point to prove in Russia in 2018. However, things didn’t go down well for the forward as they crashed out in the quarterfinal against Belgium. The 2022 World Cup is some sort of redemption for the PSG player as some call it ‘Neymar’s year’.

The odds favour Brazil to clear the group on top with Switzerland and Serbia following suit. It wouldn’t be a shocker if they come out with three perfect wins in the group stage. The odds suggest that Cameroon would finish last in Group G.

As they are clear favourites to win the group, they are also in contention to glide through the knockout stage. They haven’t failed to qualify for the knockout stages since 1982, played in three finals and won two titles since then (1994 and 2002).

A top-of-the-table finish in Group G would likely see them face Uruguay in the Round of 16 with probably Germany in the quarterfinal. However, the World Cup is always full of surprises and anything can happen on the big stage.

Coach Tite has selected a strong side for the World Cup with the veteran Thiago Silva leading the line. They have two exceptional goalkeepers in Liverpool’s Alisson Becker and Manchester City’s Ederson. Casemiro and Fred provide a strong pivot in the middle of the park as Casemiro works as a sweeper and a touch to perfection in retaining possession.

In the front line, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli are in impressive form under Mikel Arteta in Arsenal. Vinicius Junior will be coming off the bench but the 22-year-old has been a force for European Champions Real Madrid in their run to the La Liga and UEFA Champions League titles last season.

WIth such depth and young players in form for the yellow army, Brazil have a shot at the World Cup and for Neymar to lift the trophy for the first time, and also his last as he suggests it to be the final World Cup before he hangs his boots.

–IANS

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