The Seleção’s latest outing saw them dispatch Honduras 5-0 in Miami on Saturday night.
The scoreline does not reflect a game that was fairly tight in the first half, before substitutions and fatigue took their toll on the central American nation, and they capitulated.
Regardless of the one-sided result, what can we take from Brazil’s performance ahead of next summer’s World Cup?
There is no doubt that the team picked to face Honduras will not be the side that walks out in Brazil’s first game of the World Cup. A number of key positions will need tweaking, with better options than the ones that were utilised on Saturday available to the South American nation.
At centre-half, Dante and David Luiz were selected against Honduras, and although they did not have much attacking threat to deal with this time round, are unlikely to play together on the biggest stage.
Thiago Silva needs to come back in to add that reassurance at the back for the Brazil side, as both Dante and Luiz are capable of moments of madness.
At right-back, Maicon has played his part in Roma’s excellent start to the new campaign, and scored a goal against Honduras here. However, the ageing full-back does not look like the same player as from his Inter days, and must be replaced by Dani Alves for big games.
Finally, up front Jô got the nod for the friendly fixture, but is unlikely to be the main man in attack next summer. With so many big-name forwards in Brazil’s notorious past, it seems that this is one area where they do not have proven quality to select from.
Fred is most likely to assume this position after his heroics in the Confederations Cup in the summer, but beyond that the World Cup hosts do not have a huge amount of viable number nines
One thing that stood out in their win over Honduras was their midfield dominance, with Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo set to form a formidable boiler room partnership next summer.
The Wolfsburg man is the designated enforcer, while the Tottenham midfielder gets box-to-box. Paulinho was particularly impressive in the win in Miami, showing both excellent abilities going towards his own goal and in the final third.
In the 4-2-3-1 formation, the sheer amount of attacking midfield options means that Luiz Felipe Scolari has almost too many players to select from. Bernard got his goal against Honduras, Oscar is in form, while Neymar is a certainty.
With the likes of Robinho, Willian, Hulk, Kaká, Ronaldinho and plenty of others to select from, Scolari must decide on which players he can depend on to create and get the goals to win matches.
Neymar was undoubtedly the star in Brazil’s win over Honduras, and has the weight of the world on his shoulders due to his immense talent. His first touch, skill and technique were just too much for his opponents on Saturday, and the stage is set for the Barcelona man to be the talisman for the hosts next summer.
Honduras took a physical approach to try and limit Neymar’s influence, to little effect, and the Brazilian attacker can expect much of the same next summer.
Although Honduras capitulated in the second half, Brazil’s first touch football and sleek interplay was a joy to watch. If they can get their combinations right next summer, there is no reason why the Seleção cannot record an historic World Cup win on home soil.