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2019 World Cup Preview: Brazil

Marta, etc.

2019 SheBelieves Cup - Brazil v Japan Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

For a team that’s had transcendent players over the years, it’s a wonder that they’ve never won the Olympics or a World Cup. This iteration of Brazil’s Seleção is assuredly looking at their last chance to win a World Cup for one of the best players ever, and I don’t like the odds.

The Team

I’m worried about Brazil down the road. Their youngest player is 23-year-old Kathellen, and the roster features nine players 30 or older, and one of those is 41-year-old Formiga. That said, there is plenty of familiar talent, especially if you watch NWSL.

How They’ve Fared

Brazil, having never missed a World Cup, will be playing their eighth. Their best finish is runners-up, losing the final to Germany in 2007.

How They Qualified

Brazil won the final stage of the 2018 Copa America, winning all three of their matches, and thus qualifying for the World Cup

Group

C, with Australia, Italy, and Jamaica.

Player You Know

Marta should need no introduction. With 110 international goals in 133 caps, she’s one of the best of all time. She has won the FIFA World Player of the Year six times, with four runner-up finishes. That said, she turned 33 over the winter and I would bet that this is her last World Cup. With three runners-up medals (2007 World Cup, 2004 and 2008 Olympics), an intercontinental trophy as eluded her.

Player You’ll Know Soon

I’ve been expecting Bia Zaneratto to break out for some time, but it’s been difficult for the now 25-year-old to find significant playing time behind other more prominent Brazilian attackers like the aforementioned Marta, Cristiane, and Debinha. Playing her club soccer in South Korea with Incheon Red Angels, she’s credited with 34 goals in 77 appearances, while scoring eight times in 38 games for her country. At 5’9, she’s taller than most of her opponents, and stronger but with deceptive speed. If she gets time in France, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her on the scoresheet.

World Cup Outlook

I expect Brazil to finish second in the group behind Australia, which would set them up for a round of 16 match against the Group A runner-up, which they should win as long as it isn’t France somehow. I don’t see them getting further than that, as their quarterfinal opponent is likely to be England or Japan.