NZME's award winning* football blog Goalmouth Scramble is back. Our rotating stable of football writers will offer daily hot takes on all the action from the World Cup in Russia. Today, Cameron McMillan has an intense argument with himself over Brazil's chances of winning the World Cup.
Previously, on Goalmouth Scramble:
Niall Anderson: The best (and worst) games to watch
Chris Rattue: Funny footballs and goalkeepers
Chris Rattue: The big World Cup questions
Steven Holloway: Fancy a punt? The World Cup's best bets
Me: Brazil are the favourites to win this year's World Cup. And they will.
Also me: Well....they are favourites every four years and they haven't won it since 2002. They won't win it.
Me: Right. Well they will. Have you seen their recent results? 11 wins, five draws and just one defeat in their last 17 games going back to the start of last year.
Also me: Cool. Football friendlies are a great way to judge a side.
Me: Let's talk about qualifying then. They were bloody impressive. 12 wins from 18 games.
Also me: They also topped CONMEBOL qualfying for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups as well. How did that work out? Not well. Want some stats? In their last 180 minutes of World Cup football they've scored one goal and conceded 10.
Me: That was four years ago.
Also me: Yes it was. Your point?
Me: Neymar wasn't playing either. And in six games without Neymar recently, Brazil still has won four times, including a [cringe] friendly against Germany in Berlin. That 7-1 loss to Germany was a freak result. They also have a pretty impressive defensive structure under coach Tite. In 12 South American World Cup qualifiers they conceded only three goals.
A back four of PSG's Marquinhos, Inter Milan's Miranda, Real Madrid's Marcelo and Manchester City's Danilo shouldn't give away seven goals across the whole tournament let alone one game.
Also me No Dani Alves though.
Me: Sure a loss but not the biggest blow. They shouldn't need much help from the back anyway because they are going to score plenty of goals. Philippe Coutinho, Fred, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Willian and Paulinho. As well as Neymar. Wow. If not Brazil then who?
Also me I'm ranking Germany, France and Spain ahead of Brazil.
Also me: Well put your money where your mouth is then.
Me: Fine. I bet you $10,000 Brazil will win it all.
Also me: Woah. Too much for my liking. How about $5?
*Goalmouth Scramble's 'award' was more of an inter-company acknowledgement in an email from 2012.