Despite winning just two of their opening five qualifiers, the five-time champions will face the defending champions at the Maracana on Tuesday. Brazil is not a team that usually plays a lot of big games outside of tournaments like the World Cup or the Copa America. They are not used to the match being called a ‘must win’ or feeling desperate. However, the current qualification campaign for the next World Cup is causing them great pressure and anxiety.
The qualification process for the World Cup is highly competitive, with each team playing 18 matches over three years and only four automatic places in the tournament. Despite an expanded 48-team tournament that allows six South American teams to qualify, Brazil are currently fifth in the table and in danger of dropping out of the automatic qualification spots.
Brazil’s national team is filled with stars from European matches, as well as several young players who will join them in the future. There are very few glaring weaknesses in the starting KSI, which makes their current position in the standings a surprise.
Brazil fans expect them to win every World Cup, regardless of their own strength or that of their opponents. Their qualification is not a prerequisite, but an assumption. They should use these games as preparation for the tournament and not feel under pressure. How they got to this stage with such a strong squad is unclear, but Brazil are under pressure as they head into their next crucial match.