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10 Jun 2018

World Cup 2018: Brazil’s Route to the final

Reuters/LEONHARD FOEGER

Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but it’s also likely to prove a huge motivation for Tite’s team in Russia. Just as Brazil’s prospects were looking good four years ago, Germany inflicted a chastising 7-1 defeat on them at the semi-final stage.

Since then, they have rebuilt to a higher level than they were when hosting the tournament but are still relatively untested against the world’s best teams. Furthermore, they will also need to defeat their demons if they’re to go all the way in Russia.

Reuters/LEONHARD FOEGER

It’s commonly believed that if Brazil are to claim yet another World Cup title, Germany is a team they will need to face and beat at some point in their journey. But where will these two giants meet and who else do Tite’s side need to best along the way?

For a country who demand nothing less than victory, the tag of favourites means little unless their potential is realised. Below, we look at the most likely paths that could open up for the Seleção in the coming weeks.

If Brazil top Group E

Brazil’s group matches are scheduled to pit them against Switzerland, Costa Rica and then Serbia. As clear favourites to stroll through this first stage of the tournament untarnished, this would see them take the following route:                                           

Game Day Time Stadium City
1Brazil vs SwitzerlandSunday 17th June19:00Rostov ArenaRostov-on-Don
2Brazil vs Costa RicaFriday 22nd June13:00St Petersburg StadiumSt Petersburg
3Serbia vs BrazilWednesday 27th June19:00Spartak StadiumMoscow
4Round of 16Monday 2nd July15:00Samara ArenaSamara
5Quarter-finalsFriday 6th July19:00Kazan ArenaKazan
6Semi-finalsTuesday 10th July19:00St Petersburg StadiumSt Petersburg
7FinalSunday 15th July16:00Luzhniki StadiumMoscow

Making the assumption that the favourite teams progress through the surrounding matches, Mexico will await them in the first knock-out stage. Beyond that, it could prove to be European teams all the way, with Belgium, France and then a grudge-match final against Germany standing in their way to glory.  

Group Round of 16 Quarter-finals Semi-finals Finals
WinMexicoBelgiumFranceGermany

If Brazil finish second in Group E

Things do not always go to plan and a slow start in Russia could open up a different, more dangerous path for the favourites.                                                

Game Day Time Stadium City
1Brazil vs SwitzerlandSunday 17th June19:00Rostov ArenaRostov-on-Don
2Brazil vs Costa RicaFriday 22nd June13:00St Petersburg StadiumSt Petersburg
3Serbia vs BrazilWednesday 27th June19:00Spartak StadiumMoscow
4Round of 16Tuesday 3rd July15:00St Petersburg StadiumSt Petersburg
5Quarter-finalsSaturday 7th July15:00Samara ArenaSamara
6Semi-finalsWednesday 11th July19:00Luzhniki StadiumMoscow
7FinalSunday 15th July16:00Luzhniki StadiumMoscow

Germany would likely meet them in the round of 16 before South American rivals Columbia in the quarter-finals. Matches against Spain and then France would be the final hurdles to clear in capturing a sixth World title.        

Group Round of 16 Quarter-finals Semi-finals Finals
WinGermanyColumbiaSpainFrance

While both of these routes are equally challenging, there appears a good chance that both France and Germany will lie between Tite’s men and ultimate victory. It also appears that the majority of Brazil’s games will be against European opponents, however, the beauty of football lies in the hidden surprises so an Asian or African country could yet be scheduled to play the team in green and yellow.

Listen to the RealSport football writers discuss who will win the World Cup Kremlins in the Basement: RealSport’s daily World Cup podcast.