Despite not starting off on the right foot, the five-time champions will face the defending champions at the Maracana on Tuesday in a crucial World Cup qualifier. Brazil is not used to playing big games outside of tournaments like the World Cup or Copa America, and they are not accustomed to feeling desperate. However, with the current qualification campaign for the next World Cup being so competitive and intense, they are experiencing pressure and anxiety like never before.
CONMEBOL qualifying is known for its competitiveness, with each team playing 18 matches over three years and only four automatic spaces at the World Cup tournament. Despite the expanded 48-team tournament allowing for six South American teams to qualify, Brazil currently sits fifth in the standings and is in danger of falling out of the automatic qualification slots.
The Brazil squad is filled with stars from European games as well as several young players who will join them in the future. There are very few obvious weaknesses in the starting XI, making their current position in the standings a surprise.
Brazil’s fans expect them to win every World Cup, regardless of their own strengths or those of their opponents. However, they should be using these games as preparation for the tournament rather than feeling so pressured. It’s unclear how they have gotten to this stage with such a strong team, but they need to perform at their best if they want to secure their spot at the next World Cup.