Neymar's Brazil confident ahead of 2018 World Cup draw
Rio de Janeiro: Brazil are full of confidence ahead of Friday's World Cup draw in Russia — and it's not all just about Neymar.
Coming back after the mother of all humiliations in that 7-1 defeat to Germany while hosting the tournament in 2014, Brazil are once more among the top contenders.
The Selecao were the first team to qualify for next year's showpiece, wrapping up South American qualifying as runaway leaders with 10 points more than second-place Uruguay.
They have a fiery attack, a solid defence and in Tite a coach who in a short time has managed to lift the team from its meltdown and restore the faith of desperate fans.
When he took over in June 2016, Tite inherited a team that may have a history of five world championships, but under his predecessor Dunga had slipped to sixth in the regional qualification. Brazil risked not going to Russia at all.
But under Tite's guidance, the team turned around, rediscovering its beautiful game and getting the individual stars to work more as part of the collective.
Of the 12 remaining qualification matches, Brazil won 10 and drew two, scoring 30 goals and conceding just three.
The former Corinthians coach didn't have to make many changes to the team sheet to achieve this remarkable revival.
"Tite isn't a coach like (Pep) Guardiola who comes in with big new innovations, but he is without doubt the best current Brazilian coach," said Mauro Cezar Pereira, a commentator for the cable channel ESPN Brazil.
"Unlike the former selectors, he's in touch with modern football and knew how to rapidly reorganize the team. It's not the best generation of players we've ever had, but there are good players."