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Why Neymar Can Lead Brazil to CONMEBOL Title

Why Neymar Can Lead Brazil to CONMEBOL Title

Posted by PanamericanWorld on May 26, 2015

A year ago, an entire nation faced the greatest disappointment of all time.

Brazil, a soccer-crazed nation, got a chance to host the World Cup. Destiny seemed to await the Selecao as it looked to pick up its six World title.

Despite some poor soccer, the team was facing the semifinals and a chance at history. History was surely made. Just not the kind Brazil was expecting

The 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany ended Luis Felipe Scolari's reign with Brazil, and the national side was left wondering what had gone wrong.

Enter Dunga. Or more aptly, re-enter Dunga, who led Brazil to its disappointing 2010 World Cup run. Since his return this Brazilian side has been another altogether. Defense has come first and the scoring has followed.

Now the team will face its first major test in the Copa America with a chance to make a deep run. Is it too early to expect great things? Or is Dunga the man to bring back the honor to the badge?

History

Brazil has had a good history at this tournament with eight Champions and six second place finishes. The trophies came in 1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2004 and 2007. Shockingly, Pepe never led his nation to a Copa America victory, despite his World Cup runs.

Brazil's last two final wins have actually come against Argentina. In 2004, the team defeated the Argentine squad on penalties after a 2-2 draw in regulation. In 2007, Brazil actually entered the tournament as the underdog after finishing second in the group stage and struggling to get past Uruguay in the semifinals.

However, in the final the Brazilian side, led by Dunga, pulled through with a confident 3-0 win against an Argentine squad that was shell-shocked and disappointed.

Key Players

When Neymar went down in the World Cup last summer, the entire squad acted as if he had died and tried to rally around him to pull past Germany.

It failed, despite emphasizing just how important the youngster was to his team. Neymar had been the star of the Confederations Cup a year earlier and was undeniably the force behind Brazil's mediocre run to the semifinals in the World Cup.

That said, the Neymar that played in those contest was nowhere near the Neymar that has enjoyed a breakout year with Barcelona. Despite having two games to go, Neymar has 38 goals in all competitions for his club and is starting to look like the superstar force many expected him to become over the years.

At 23 years of age, he already has 43 goals in just 62 games for his national side. Barring injury, he might top Pele's record of 77 goals and become Brazil's greatest goal scorer. In his current form, especially considering that his peak years are still some ways away, he can demolish that record. The Copa America might be the place to start.

After Neymar the remaining squad is quite excellent with such pieces as Coutinho, Luiz Gustavo, Casemiro, Willian, David Luiz, Marcelo, Thiago Silva and Mirando giving Neymar strong support.

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