Five-time champion Cafu has no doubts: the Brazilian team will arrive in Qatar as the favorite to win the World Cup. The ex-right-back was the last player to lift the most coveted cup on the planet wearing green and yellow and believes that in December, more than 20 years after that unforgettable victory over Germany, in Yokohama, Japan, Brazil will return to win the World Cup.
“Brazil arrives, yes, as the favorite. On a level above the Brazilian team I don’t see anyone, to be quite honest. Of course, you will have to dedicate yourself, make a commitment”, commented Cafu, ambassador for the Qatar World Cup, in an exclusive interview with Sports Gazette.
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But, after all, who can face Brazil for the world title? Most of the toughest opponents mentioned by Cafu are precisely those that the team has not had the opportunity to face in recent years: the Europeans.
“I see other great teams as well, such as France, England, Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Denmark and Holland, who are playing the finest football and are teams that few people talk about, but they have been playing very well. Portugal, with players playing in most major European leagues, too. But, I’m a patriot, I love the Brazilian team and I see the team with good eyes for this World Cup”, he added.
Despite the long list of European countries among the favorites of the World Cup, for Cafu, the cup will be disputed by two South Americans.
“If they don’t face each other before, the clashes don’t clash, we will have Brazil and Argentina in the final”, said the captain of the penta.
Despite not having faced European rivals in this last cycle for the World Cup, Brazil arrives at the tournament with more alternatives. If before Neymar was responsible for ‘carrying the piano’ alone, today coach Tite has other players capable of deciding a match, see what Vinícius Jr did in the Champions League final for Real Madrid, scoring the goal that sealed the 14th Spanish club title in the tournament.
“Neymar had this weight with him, everything that happened in the national team was Neymar’s fault. He had that responsibility, because really he was alone. He was the last star Brazil has seen in the last 15 years. Today I already see this shared responsibility, with Vinícius Júnior himself growing a lot, Raphinha who has been growing a lot, Rodrygo who every time he joined Real he corresponded to the height, Coutinho returned to playing that football we know. Today I see the responsibility of the national team divided. This is very good, it makes everyone stand out and help each other on the field. But that will depend a lot on our coach. Our coach has to make these players really share the responsibility on the field and play like the Brazilian team”, he continued.
One of the differences between this World Cup and the others is the date on which it will take place. Because of the intense heat in the Middle East in June and July, months in which it is traditionally played, the Cup this time will take place in November and December. With this, athletes who work in European football will reach the competition in peak physical shape, since the season in the Old Continent will be halfway through.
“I think it will be even better, because the athletes will be at their peak, November is everyone ‘flying’. Then comes December, there are those 15 days of break for you to resume the championships in January. In England, for example, it doesn’t stop. So there won’t be much difference in that regard. If we had most of the national team players playing in Brazil, going to a World Cup in November, then I would tell you that the players would be worn out. Most of the team’s holders play in Europe. I don’t see any problem with that with wear and tear. There’s no excuse, because they will reach their physical peak to compete in this World Cup”, said Cafu.
The Brazilian team debuts in the World Cup on November 24, at 16:00 (Brasília time), at the Lusail stadium, against Serbia, for the first round of Group G of the competition. FIFA started the last stage of ticket sales at the beginning of July. Tickets will be available until August 16, on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who purchase tickets for the games will have to obtain the “Hay’ya Card”, equivalent to the Fan ID. This identification, physical or digital, will be the document of entry to the country and will gather ticket information, accommodation and Covid-19 status, in addition to providing free access to public transport on match days.
Below, you can see other excerpts from the interview with the five-time world champion Cafu:
Pressure due to the fact that the Selection has not won a World Cup for 20 years and can match the longest fast in its history if it is not champion in Qatar.
Each handles it differently. Some feel more, some feel less, some don’t. After 1970 we went 24 years without winning a title, we went to win the 1994 World Cup. We haven’t won the World Cup for 20 years. Like it or not, it’s a bit of pressure for these kids, for these kids who are about to play in a World Cup. We know how much pressure the Brazilian team is under for titles, the World Cup. I hope these boys can absorb this pressure in a very calm way, especially because they are experienced players, starters on their teams, captains, champions. But, the pressure of winning a World Cup after 20 years really does weigh a bit as long as you are aware of it and take responsibility. But, man, it’s getting on the field and doing what they’ve been doing so far. Brazil qualified with six games to spare, everyone playing very well. Until the World Cup these players will be better, more connected. I hope they can get through this pressure very smoothly.
Cultural and Calendar Differences for the Qatar World Cup
I am Qatar’s ambassador for the World Cup, so I hope it will be an excellent World Cup, which will leave the whole world open-mouthed in relation to technology, stadiums, in short, I see it with very good eyes. It is a region with a different culture, we have to adapt to the cultures of other countries. We have 32 teams, so will Qatar have to adapt to 32 different cultures? Not. We have to adapt to the country’s culture. We hope that all this can be accomplished. It’s going to be a World Cup completely different from all the others. We will have the opportunity to see three games on the same day, all venues will be in the same city, you won’t need to take a plane to see the game, change hotels, CT. The facilities that Qatar is giving to everyone I see with good eyes.
most impressive stadiums
Without a doubt, Lusail, from the World Cup final. It is a very imposing stadium, completely different. Although all stadiums have air conditioning, an excellent infrastructure. We have stadium 974, made with containers, something completely different from anything else. Real container. They didn’t skimp on stadiums, infrastructure, on getting the country ready to host a World Cup.
Brazilian fans at the World Cup
I hope that a Brazilian legion goes to Qatar, although the package to go to Qatar is very expensive, very salty. But I hope they have a lot of fun, enjoy a lot, but pay attention to the legislation of the country, what they can or cannot do. Qatar is a fascinating country, you will see a completely different culture. I hope that Brazilians can get there taking the joy they have always had, the songs, the songs, the smile and the joy of the Brazilian people to mark Qatar.
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