Brazil took full advantage of the Confederations Cup - winning the tournament and showing the world that, once again, they are World Cup contenders.
The Samba stars did not win the competition down to blind luck - there were some huge influencing factors, which will need to stay with the team if they are to be considered true competitors at the World Cup next year held in Brazil.
One of the main members of the squad in the Confederations Cup was not on the pitch at all.
Luiz Felipe Scolari, a man built to manage at the international level has created a young competitive team capable of beating the world’s best and he has built this squad in less than a year.
As a manager he never quite made it on the domestic scene but he is a World Cup winner with Brazil, in his previous tenure, and he brings an air of control and confidence to the squad.
It is this confidence that gave the Brazillians the momentum to play attractive attacking football.
Having won this competition the team have inadvertently put themselves under more pressure to perform next year, combine that with the fact the tournament is being held on home soil, their will be millions of expectant fans analysing their every movement.
Scolari will have the task of keeping his players focused on the situation in hand while protecting them from the ever present media who will pounce on any weakness.
If he can keep a relatively young squad together and fighting towards the same goal then Brazil will have one of the strongest squads in the competition.
Something that has intrigued me, watching the Brazilian squad play over the last few weeks, has been a change in their traditional style of play. Made famous for their samba style - with the likes of Zico, Ronaldinho, Socrates and Rivaldo the country was made famous for flick tricks and unbelievable skill.
The core of the team still have all the skills and style of their predecessors however there seems to be an evolution of stronger, more physical play to the side. Hulk, Fred, Gustavo, Thiago Silva appear to be more complete players who are perhaps less inclined to show off with the tricks but instead complete good passing movements, win physical battles and dominate when the ball is in the air.
This new physicality gave Brazil a dominate edge over much of the competition in the Confederations Cup, watching Fred and Hulk battle with Ramos and Pique was something that Spain were not prepared for and Fred emphasised the strength and power needed at the top level with brazil’s third goal against Italy.
This new found power combined with the fireworks and flair from the likes of Oscar and Neymar has given the national team a more complete look and given them a fighting chance against a wider variety of teams that they may face next year.
The crowds and feel in the stadia has been amazing with fans showing up in their thousands to show their support for the national team. The team will need to feed off the power of the crowd at the tournament because, even though I am saying that the team will be strong, it is not a given that Brazil will lift the World Cup.
The one major flaw I can see in the Brazil team is their strength in depth.
The main thing is that the bench is competitive enough to provide pressure on the first-team and give rest bite to players facing fatigue.
The likes of Bernard, Lucas and Jo will need to improve their game on the national stage to provide more power for their team.
Will Kaka and Ronaldinho make a return to provide some experience and guidance for the younger players? Only Scolari knows. All I know is that I cant wait for the World Cup to start already.
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