“I don’t like to see Brazil designated as favourites”

Ex-FC Porto player Ralph Stange acknowledges his country is full of talent but hopes egos won’t win out over collective


3 mins.

Updated at 07:44

World Cup in Qatar

Christophe NADIN

Christophe NADIN

Ex-FC Porto player Ralph Stange acknowledges his country is full of talent but hopes egos won’t win out over collective

You can always search, you won’t find a more enticing squad than Brazil’s among the 32 listed in Qatar. It’s a veritable line-up of stars that coach Tite has summoned, even leaving a few choice pieces at home such as the versatile Liverpool striker, Firmino or even Coutinho, who is out due to injury.

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In this constellation, the least known star is perhaps Titus. The 61-year-old coach has never practiced in Europe and only has two experiences abroad. In the Emirati championship more precisely. “He’s a fairly calm guy who took over the Seleção when it was at its worst. She had just been eliminated from the Copa America and the 1-7 of the previous World Cup was not yet digested, ”recalls Ralph Stange.

Neymar, the centerpiece of Tite’s system

The Sao Paulo-born former professional is passionate about tactics. For many years he filmed the matches of Dudelange’s adversaries, dissecting them from A to Z. This is to say that in front of so much abundance, the technician is jubilant when he finds himself in front of the blackboard. “Neymar (PSG) is the centerpiece of Tite’s system. It’s understandable, but it’s risky. Because when it does not turn fast enough, Neymar tends to come back far in the game and his loss of balls can have unfortunate consequences.

The addition of talent should make the five-time world champions irresistible, but football is much more than a mathematical operation. “The media has propelled us as favorites and I don’t like that,” continues Ralph Stange. “The stars will have to put their egos aside for the good of the team. And that goes for Neymar as for Vinicius jr. I remember the 2006 World Cup where we kept talking about the magic square Kaka, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Adriano and it was a total flop.

Curiosity Dani Alves

Tite also made sure to take mission guys like the solid Casemiro (Manchester United) and Fabinho (Liverpool) and experienced boys like Thiago Silva (Chelsea) and Marquinhos (PSG) who should be the central hinge. Then there is the curiosity Dani Alves (39 years old). “I see him more in a role of road captain than in that of a holder”, advances Stange “even if the side are not the strongest points of the selection”.

Fernando Gutierrez prefers to find himself in the situation of Fola than in that of Dudelange

Fernando Gutierrez, the former coach of the Avenir Beggen and Youth underlines the maturity acquired by the Albiceleste and finally points to the development of Lionel Messi in the group.

We will probably see Danilo (Juventus) on the right and Alex Sandro (left), or even Alex Telles (Sevilla FC). What intrigues the former Mertzig defender more is the player who will form the central triangle with Neymar and Casemiro. “Tite really likes Paqueta (West Ham), but that means two elements brought forward. The defensive block with Casemiro will have to be quite strong then. The options are not lacking with Fred (Manchester United) or Bruno Guimarães (Newcastle). And where there is a way to have fun is in attack with Vinicius jr (Real Madrid) on the left, Raphinha (FC Barcelona) on the right and Richarlison (Tottenham) up front. “Me, I admit to having a soft spot for Rodrygo (on the right) and I would establish Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal) at the forefront. He’s in the shape of his life.”

We almost forget that Brazil has two of the ten best goalkeepers in the world in its selection with Alisson (Liverpool) who will undoubtedly be preferred to Ederson (Manchester City). All the ingredients are there to give an explosive cocktail in a Group G which will be anything but a formality for the Auriverde with Serbia, Cameroon and Switzerland as opponents. “Especially since the teams met recently do not necessarily have test value”, punctuates Stange.

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“I don’t like to see Brazil designated as favourites”