Brazil, the five-time champions, are facing intense pressure as they prepare for their next crucial qualifier at the Maracana on Tuesday. Despite winning only two of their opening five qualifiers, they are currently fifth in the standings and in danger of falling out of the automatic qualification slots for the next World Cup tournament.
CONMEBOL qualifying is known for its competitiveness, with each team playing 18 matches over three years and only four automatic spaces at the tournament. Despite being an expanded 48-team tournament allowing for six South American teams to qualify, Brazil’s fans expect them to win every World Cup, regardless of their own strengths or those of their opponents. Their qualification is not a prerequisite but rather an assumption.
The Brazil squad is filled with stars from European games as well as several young players who will join them in the future. There are very few obvious weaknesses in the starting XI, making their current position in the standings a surprise. However, this campaign has caused them to experience intense pressure and anxiety due to its competitiveness and importance.
It’s unclear how they have gotten to this stage with such a strong team, but Brazil must use these games as preparation for the tournament rather than feeling so pressured by their fans’ expectations. They should focus on improving their performance and securing a spot in the automatic qualification slots before it’s too late.