Are Brazil worthy World Cup favourites at Qatar 2022?

Brazil are perennial World Cup favourites and now they have reached the quarter-finals at Qatar 2022, but can Tite's men justify favouritism and end 20 years of World Cup hurt?

There were murmurs before the World Cup that Brazil were back. And Monday's first-half demolition job on South Korea has confirmed that Tite's men are genuine contenders.

After 20 years without a World Cup win - an absolute eternity in Selecao terms - Tite's men look ready for world glory.

Only France in 1998 managed to stop Brazilian dominance in the 90s and early 2000s.

Dunga captained Brazil to glory in USA 1994 before France pipped them in the final in 1998, but Ronaldo's double helped them to glory in 2002 with Germany the beaten finalists.

Since then, though, Brazil's World Cup showings have been pretty dull, with a dreaded fourth-place finish the best they have offered in 2014.

Enter Qatar 2022 and Brazil look the real deal once again.

Perennial World Cup favourites

They entered the tournament as favourites, but they always do. Depending on different sources, at worst, Brazil have been World Cup favourites from the outset in five of the last seven tournaments: in 1994 (7/2, joint with Germany), 1998 (3/1), 2006 (5/2), 2014 (3/1) and last time out in Russia (9/2).

This time around they kicked off the tournament at a general 4/1. However, the dismantling of the Koreans has now seen Tite's men cut to a best-priced 2/1.

The ante-post punters may have got 11/2 had they backed Brazil in July 2021, just after they were beaten in the final of the Copa America by Argentina.

A straightforward qualifying campaign saw them backed into 9/2 in April 2022 and in August they were a similar price for world domination.

Tite's men were a best-priced 4/1 on the eve of Qatar and they were 47/100 shots to defeat Serbia in their opening game, which they did 2-0.

Without Neymar they then delivered at 1/2 beating Switzerland, before losing at a price of 9/25 to Cameroon with qualification already assured.

They were similarly short-priced to defeat South Korea in the round of 16 and they got that job done in the first half.

And the Samba Boys made sure they would take the headlines with a dance show to match their football.

Easier side of the draw

They now find themselves in the easier side of the draw with wily old Croatia up next in the last eight.

At 4/11 they are expected to knock out an ageing Croatian side, whose legs might just have suffered after 120 minutes against Japan.

Netherlands or big rivals Argentina will be their semi-final opponents and neither have shown they can trouble the best.

Tite will certainly not be fearful of either of those two, even though Argentina have won two of the last three meetings between the South American giants.

The other half of the draw will pit England against France, while Spain, Portugal and dark horses Switzerland are still in with a shout.

Brazil, no doubt, are on the right side of the draw and only an unmitigated disaster would see them not reach the final on December 18.

Just who their opponents will be remains a tough one to call, but the winners of France vs England look likely to be the likely Lusail Stadium opponents a week before Christmas.

So, is the 2/1 a fair price about Neymar and Co?

That transpires as a 33% chance of winning and given what we have said about their main rivals, yes it's probably about right.

The bookies believe they are twice as likely as France and England to win it, with those two set to fight it out on Saturday night.

Brazilian weakness

Looking at their team, it's hard to spot too many weaknesses, with Alisson providing a solid platform between the posts.

Defensively Brazil have been strong, but the 38-year-old Thiago Silva is potentially one player who could be exposed.

There's no doubt their attacking quartet of Neymar, Richarlison, Vinicius Jnr and Raphinha is where their strength lies, even though some pundits may have gone over the top with their praise for Brazil against South Korea.

The Koreans were poor in their intensity and gameplan and it left Paulo Bento with nowhere to go after the game, although he claimed he had decided to walk away regardless of their results in Qatar.

Brazil will not get another walk in the park like they did on Monday, but a place in the final beckons.

But who will they face? Will it be a repeat of 1998, France vs Brazil?

Gareth Southgate's England may have something to say about that, while 2010 champions Spain will also fancy their chances of a final appearance.

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