Brazil’s long road back from the humiliation of Sao Paulo went through Paris on Thursday night, and will continue at the Emirates.
Arsenal’s stadium has almost become Brazil’s unofficial European home in recent years and tomorrow they will meet South American opposition in Chile. But though their squad includes local hero Alexis Sanchez, Brazil are likely to be just as enthusiastically supported.
Sanchez has shown this season that he is one the world’s leading players, but even he is not currently playing as well as Neymar. Brazil’s talisman and leader dragged them as far as he could in the World Cup, but was unable through injury to stop their brutal dissection by Germany in that infamous semi-final.
Luiz Felipe Scolari, their coach that day, has been replaced by Dunga, their reliable old midfielder and the man who took them to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup.
They have been steadily improving ever since and this week, at the Stade de France, they delivered their best performance since last summer’s debacle. Facing Didier Deschamps’ talented young France side, they went 1-0 down, before seizing control of the game and deservedly winning 3-1.
Neymar, as ever, was the star, scoring one brilliant goal and taking on opponents at every opportunity. His leadership role in this team is clear, but his team-mates – notably David Luiz, Oscar and the impressive Roberto Firmino – proved that they can ably support him.
The memory of the traumatic World Cup may never be extinguished, but at least this Brazil team is improving. The World Cup in Russia is still years away but this summer they do have the Copa America in Chile to prove their worth again, with the people of north London likely to be treated to the spectacle of a flourishing Brazil side moving towards their peak.Reuse content