The speculators have said it for some time- Brazil the overwhelming favorite at this World Cup. Some pundits and analysts have made the bold claim that the Brazilians have so much quality and depth that their second squad could even make the knockout round in Qatar 2022.
Now an actual player on the team, midfielder and Manchester United star Casemiro, has said something in this vein. He says that sometimes he and teammates actually pity their rivals.
Granted he did say it in response to a question about how Brazil will cope with the loss of their superstar Neymar. The Paris-Saint Germain winger will miss the next game (and some reports claim the one after that as well) due to injury.
So the following comment was made in the context of the idea being put forward that they were a one-man team.
“We could spend several day talking about Neymar, the player he is, his qualities and how important he is for our team. It’s unavoidable, he is our biggest player, the difference maker in our team,” Casemiro told a news conference on Saturday.
“However, we have other players that have been performing in the same level like Vinicius Junior, Raphinha, Richarlison, Gabriel Jesus…
“We have a wide array of options [on the bench]. It’s great for us. But it does not change the fact that Neymar is our best player.”
Casemiro made sure to extol the virtues of Neymar too there, while detailing the depth of his national side. Casemiro and the rest of Brazil, who plan to do a lot of dancing to celebrate their goals and victories this tournament, have their second Group G clash, against Switzerland, on Monday.
They beat Serbia 2-0 in the opener.
Paul M. Banks is the Owner/Manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”