The Brazil national football team became the first team of South America which secured a berth at the final tournament of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Recall that in the CONMEBOL qualification for the World Cup, 14 teams hold a two-round tournament which first four teams directly go to the World Cup, and the fifth team gets to play-offs.
Brazil is the five-time World Cup Champion (no one national team has more wins) and the only national team participating in all World Cups. The Brazilians, by default, are the main favorite of any tournament. Nevertheless, in the early 20th century other countries were fashion-makers in football. The Yellow-Greens had the first serious chance to win in a world championship in 1950 when Brazil acquired the right to host a home World Cup. They held the whole tournament with confidence but, nevertheless, conceded in the decisive match against the Uruguay national football team and won only silver medals.
The time of Brazil came eight years later. World Cup 1958 in Sweden became a debut for legendary Pele who became the best football player of the 20th century and also the only player having gold awards of three World Cups. 17-year-old Pele did a power of good for the national team with the play-offs. In the quarterfinal Pele scored the only goal which provided Brazil with a victory over Wales. In the tournament semi-final the 17-year-old genius made a hat trick into the net of France, and in the final of the World Cup he scored two goals to the tournament hosts and brought to Brazil the first victory in the World Cup history.
Four years later, in the tournament in Chile, the Brazilians repeated their achievement and became the two-time winner and also the first national team winning the World Cup twice in a row. Then the forward Garrincha became the top scorer of the tournament and the main hero of the championship. Pele was injured in the group stage and couldn't participate in decisive matches.
Brazil couldn't get an easy victory in Chile. Already in the group stage, the reigning World Cup Champions had serious problems. After their victory over Mexico and goalless draw with Czechoslovakia, Brazil was conceding to Spain in the last round for a long time. That result could kick the Yellow-Greens out of the draw already in the group stage, but by the end of the game, thanks to Amarildo’s double, the Brazilians pulled out a win and left for the quarterfinal. Garrincha came to the fore in the play-offs. Thanks to the doubles of the talented forward in the quarterfinal against England and in the semi-final against Chile Brazil surely stepped into the final. In the decisive match Brazil was ahead of Czechoslovakia 3:1.
World Cup 1966 ended in failure for Brazil — the team couldn't even leave the group. But 4 years later we saw, perhaps, the strongest national football team of all times. In the World Cup in Mexico, Brazil, for the third time ever, became the World Cup Champion and hopped Uruguay in number of trophies, and also received the World Cup forever as the country winning the tournament three times. The performance of Brazil was faultless: the Yellow-Greens outplayed all their opponents and scored 19 goals in six matches.
Surprisingly, but next success came to the Brazilians only in 1994. In the World Cup in the USA the Brazilians were much stronger than their opponents. Only in the final which came to the end with draw 0:0, the Italian team could stop the Brazilian attack. But, nevertheless, it was not enough — the South Americans were stronger in the penalty shootout. The Brazilian forward Romario scored in five matches and became the best tournament player.
In 1998 Brazil went to the World Cup as the main favorite again. There was a new star in the team — the goal machine Ronaldo who got the greatest expectation of the Brazil national football team. Only in the semi-final the Brazilians faced the first problems. After they easily left the group stage (Brazil won the first place in the group ahead of schedule thanks to convincing victories over Morocco and Scotland) in the round of last 16, the current World Cup Champions crushed the Chile national football team (score 4:1), and in the quarterfinal they confidently dealt with Denmark. Only in the semifinal the Brazilians were given a real battle. The Netherlands national football team after a missed goal in the first half, didn't give up and fought against the favorite head-to-head. 6 minutes before the end of the game, the Dutchmen could even the score, and then the brought the game to a penalty shootout. Fortunately for the Brazilians, they were lucky — the Dutch footballers failed twice, and Brazil got into the final. On the eve of the final, the leader of Brazil Ronaldo felt ill. In spite of the fact that he, nevertheless, took part in the match, we saw just a pale shadow of him, and the Brazil national football team was beaten in all respects 0:3. Nevertheless, the second time in the history Brazil could win silver medals of the World Cup.
Four years later the Yellow-Greens took a convincing revenge. The Brazil national football team won confidently all matches, Ronaldo scored 8 goals and became the top scorer of the tournament. In the final Brazil outplayed Germany with score 2:0.
After leaving of the talented generation with the brilliant three Ronaldo-Rivaldo-Ronaldinho, the Brazil national football team twice in a row couldn't overcome the quarterfinal round in the World Cups (2006 and 2010). The Brazilians had high hopes for home World Cup 2014. The young forward of Barcelona Neymar, who was expected to be the successor of Ronaldo, became the new leader of the national team. Alas, the home tournament ended with a resounding flop for the penta-champions.
Brazil hardly reached the tournament semi-final and faced the match against the Germany national football team. Experts expected a match of equal teams with a minimum of goals, but the result struck everyone. By the 30th minute the Brazilians missed five unanswered goals from their opponents. The hosts could not understand what was happening and were absolutely depressed. The match score was 1:7. Unconditionally, the game of Brazil and Germany will make history of the World Cups as the largest defeat of the five-time World Cup Champions.
Four years later Brazil aspires to win the tournament again. The squad of Brazilians isn’t so bright as, for example, the Germans or Argentineans, but there is an obvious leader — Neymar, the most expensive player in the world, and also a quite efficient team under guidance of a skilled coach.
Unfortunately, the article format doesn’t allow to describe all achievements of the “ball magicians” in color. Besides five wins in the World Cups, the Brazil national football team eight times won the Copa America, four times won the Confederations Cup, and they are the reigning Olympic Champion. Surely, in Russia Brazil will be among the main contenders for medals.