Casemiro: Brazil much stronger than in 2018
Brazil are through to the last 16 of the World Cup after Casemiro struck late on to seal a 1-0 win over Switzerland at Stadium 974 in Doha.FotMob - 2 months ago
Casemiro believes Brazil are in a much stronger position at the Qatar World Cup than they were in Russia in 2018.
Manchester United midfielder Casemiro lashed home an 83rd-minute winner against Switzerland on Monday, ensuring Brazil's progress from Group G.
Up to that point at Stadium 974, Brazil – shorn of the injured Neymar – had been frustrated in their attempts to break the deadlock, and looked set to be heading for a third World Cup draw against the Swiss, who they had not previously beaten in the competition.
Brazil are the first side in World Cup history to go unbeaten in 17 consecutive group stage matches (including final and second group rounds in earlier editions), though it is the first time since 2010 that the Selecao have won their opening two matches at the tournament.
Having reached the quarter-finals in Russia before going out to Belgium, Brazil are the favourites to triumph in Qatar, and Casemiro has no doubt the squad is stronger than it was at the last World Cup.
"Four years have gone by, there are new players, this year we have a wider range of options, we have more to choose from, without even changing the team we can change the way we play," Casemiro said in a post-match press conference.
"If we substitute players we have even more options. There's no doubt the options are much greater than those in 2018. Not only because time has gone on and we are mature.
"We have defenders who are more experienced, we've had another match without conceding. It's not Alisson, it's not the defence, it starts up front with Richarlison.
"The range of options is much greater than at the last World Cup."
Casemiro's sentiment was echoed by coach Tite, who claimed the real victor of Brazil's success on Monday was the "process" of developing a younger squad.
"There's a wide range of options because there's a four-year period of developing this," Tite said.
"What won today was this four years, and them being able to develop in a natural way, despite being young.
"If that weren't the case, it would be very difficult. Who won today? This process, this development. That was the cherry on the cake."
Brazil need just a point from their final Group G game against Cameroon to seal top spot, and a match against the runners-up of Group H, which includes Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea, in the last 16.
It is unclear if Neymar, who sustained an ankle injury in last week's win over Serbia, will be fit to feature against Cameroon, but Tite was buoyed that Brazil got the job done without their talisman.
Asked if Brazil missed Neymar's influence, Tite said: "Obviously, Neymar has different skills, he is a player who can make a magical moment.
"Other players are still getting to that level, and I hope they get there. So yes, we do miss Neymar, he has a great creative power, so we miss him, but we see that there are players that can take the opportunity. Let's enjoy this win."