Philippe Coutinho #11, Neymar #10 and Gabriel Jesus #9 of Brazil celebrates a scored goal against Argentina during a match between Brazil and Argentina as part 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier at Mineirao Stadium. Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

For many casual soccer observers, the Brazilian national team is always a top contender to win the World Cup and it usually has to do with one of their star players. Previous superstars to lead Brazil at a World Cup include Pele between 1958 and 1970, Zico in 1982, Romario in 1994, Ronaldo in 1998 and 2002, along with Ronaldinho in 2006.

Much like 2014, all eyes in 2018 will be on Neymar. But the Selecao is rarely made up of just one player surrounded by complementary players and this squad is no different. The defense alone is packed with several veterans, like Thiago Silva, Filipe Luis and Marcelo. The midfield is also loaded with experience, as Fernandinho and William could see considerable playing time.

But there are also some relatively new faces. Head coach Tite can rely on several talented players with less than 40 caps to pick up the slack if Neymar isn't at his best.

Philippe Coutinho

The former Liverpool playmaker is simply dazzling. He should feel comfortable playing with his former Reds teammate Roberto Firmino and with current Barcelona teammate Paulinho in what should be a potent Brazilian attack.

At age 26, Coutinho is in his prime and appears poised to excel in central midfield and after being inexplicably overlooked over the years. Expect Brazil to let Coutinho work his magic, as he exudes confidence and excels at setting up teammates for goal-scoring opportunities. He also might be Tite's most proficient set-piece specialist.


In recent years, Julio Cesar and Dida were considered to be among Brazil's all-time greatest goalkeepers, but Alisson Becker is capable of overshadowing both of them.

The athletic 25-year-old is clearly the most talented goalkeeper on the roster and has emerged as one of the best in the world. He shined with AS Roma this season and is garnering the attention of Real Madrid and Liverpool. Don't be surprised to see the Rio Grande do Sul native make some crucial saves that keep Brazil from being upset by some underdog opponents.

Gabriel Jesus

At just 21 years old, Gabriel Jesus is the future of Brazilian football. He scored 20 goals in 39 appearances for Premier League champion Manchester City and has scored 10 goals for Brazil in just 17 appearances. It's no wonder that Tite has so much confidence in the former Palmeiras striker.

Neymar and Firmino can't be called upon to take all the shots, so expect Gabriel Jesus to get a lot of touches. A strong start could do wonders for his confidence.