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Heather Diaz
June 12, 2018

The Brazilians are absolutely more than worthy contenders.

In Coutinho they have a brilliant playmaker, in Paulinho they have a traditional box-to-box midfielder, and in Casemiro they have a resolute holder.

Tite's side faced an Austria team that were coming off the back of a 2-1 victory over Germany last week, a result which extended their unbeaten run to eight games.

The Saudi national soccer team arrived in the Russian city of St. Pittsburg Saturday evening to take part in Russia World Cup scheduled to kick off on Thursday.

On the offensive end, they still have Mario Mandzukic who can change the game's outcome with his goals and he should be the team's main striker for this competition. It is symbolised by the unparalleled prestige and value placed on being crowned FIFA World Cup champions. He's well-rested. He's ready to lead the Selecao to glory.

With Alves out, Tite has continued to tinker with his skipper selection, rotating the captain's armband on a number of occasions, though Miranda may be the one who gets the nod.

One can never forget the image of that old Brazilian man holding on to a replica of the World Cup trophy with tears trickling down his eyes after Brazil's infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-final, tragic but full of passion.

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Fast forward four years and that emphasis prevails.

And as fate would have it, Neymar, who was starting a game for the first time since he fractured a metatarsal and sprained his ankle playing in February, was on the scoresheet yet again.

Previous performers at the World Cup include Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull and Claudia Leitte in 2014 in Brazil, while 2010's three-hour event in Johannesburg featured performances from Rihanna, Shakira, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber.

Neymar's goal in the 63rd minute was even better as he collected the ball on the left of the area, performed a drag-back which left Aleksandar Dragovic on the floor before sending his shot between Lindner's legs.

No one is really expecting this squad to lift the World Cup in July, but if they can work together and combine their talents as a collective whole, they can surprise a few teams and go deep in the competition.

"We've just lost three finals in a row, which has led to us going through some hard moments with the press", added the Barcelona forward.

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