World Cup 2022 tips: Are Brazil the rightful favourites for glory in Qatar?

No nation has lifted the most prestigious trophy in the sporting world as often as Brazil, but will Neymar and company claim a sixth title in Qatar? Paul Bathurst assesses their chances.

Brazil are the bookies favourites for glory at World Cup 2022, with the team currently trading at around 4.8 on Betfair Exchange. That comes as no surprise when you consider they came through the South American qualifying system without losing any of their 17 matches, winning 14.

A nation that is known for their flair and skill will be led by Tite who has overseen a Copa America triumph back in 2019 and has lost just five of his 76 games in charge.

At the beginning of Tite's tenure, Brazil adopted a very pragmatic approach to matches.

However since the emergence of various attacking talents deemed to possess 'fast legs' according to Tite, this side are far more dynamic and play the game with an increased emphasis on attacking.

The Selecao are blessed in every area of their squad, and it could be argued that their B team would have a run at the trophy. 

The goalkeeper will be Alisson, with Ederson acting as his deputy. There is an abundance of leadership at centre-back with captain Thiago Silva and PSG's Marquinhos being the preferred partnership.

Another option at centre-back would be Eder Militao, who was a key member of Real Madrid's Champions League-winning side just six months back. However, it is likely he shall be forced to play as the right-back, a position he has played often. Alex Sandro should get the nod at left-back ahead of Alex Telles.

The midfield will most likely contain Casemiro who is widely regarded as the best defensive midfielder in the world.

Real Madrid player Casemiro

Fred or Fabinho are the two likely candidates to join him, although we expect the Manchester United man to be preferred.

At the top end of the pitch, we anticipate a very attacking composition within a fluid 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 formation.

The front four will contain their talisman Neymar who has scored 75 goals in 121 caps.

The other three positions will be a combination of any from Vinicius, Raphinha, Antony, Jesus, Richarlison, Martinelli or Rodrygo.

The attacking positions are undoubtedly Brazil's biggest strength. Every player in that list can be considered flexible, considering they can play anywhere across the offensive line without dropping their performance level.

With this World Cup being the first major tournament to include the five substitutes allowance, the bench options for Brazil is likely to be a vital factor in their chances of glory.

Expected starting line-up 4-2-3-1

Goalkeeper: Alisson

Defenders: Militao,T. Silva, Marquinhos, Sandro

Midfielders: Casemiro, Fred

Forwards: Raphina, Neymar, Vinicius

Striker: Richarlison

Road to the final

Brazil should win their group with relative ease and they are 1.40 to do so. They are placed in Group G and are joined by Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

The two European sides will represent a challenge to Brazil, with both sides being highly organised.

Cameroonian legend Samuel Eto'o has suggested his nation could win this tournament, but we think it's highly unlikely Brazil fail to take three points from them.

Our feeling is that should Brazil win Group G, their most likely opponents in the next round would be fellow South Americans, Uruguay.

Routine 0-2 and 4-1 victories for the Selecao in qualifying would suggest they will advance to the quarter-finals.

Germany are a possible opponent here which would represent a huge challenge. The Germans famously dispatched Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final of the 2014 edition, which was held in Brazil.

Should Tite lead his nation to revenge against the Germans, there is potentially a mouthwatering semi-final clash with Argentina on the cards.

This game would need no build-up, especially with Argentina winning the Copa America back in 2021, defeating Brazil 1-0 in the final - again a tournament hosted by Brazil.

The Verdict

We feel that the Brazilians justify being the favourite to win this tournament. However, in terms of value, less than 4/1 does not whet the appetite.

A smarter option may be to look at Neymar to collect the Golden Boot award.

With the emergence of fresh attacking threats in this side, opposing managers cannot purely focus on Neymar as was the case previously.

This should give the PSG superstar more space, which is likely to lead to more opportunity in front of goal.

With Brazil expected to go far and Neymar being the designated penalty taker, the 12/1 available looks a tasty option.

READ MORE: World Cup 2022 tips: Can England go all the way in Qatar?

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