Brazil arrive in Russian Federation with World Cup clock ticking down

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In Vienna yesterday afternoon, Brazil completed preparations for the World Cup with a resounding 3-0 victory over a physical Austria and goals from its leading attacking trident in Gabriel Jesus, Neymar and Philippe Coutinho. Third place went to the Brazilians led by Neymar, who alone accounts for 15% of the team's value, estimated at Euro 1.27 billion.

"All the games before the World Cup were important to reach this level of performance", Jesus, who now has 10 global goals, told the Brazilian FA.

Jesus is now Brazil's top goalscorer under manager Tite after the lively linchpin netted his tenth goal against Austria, taking the Man City striker's goalscoring tally further above both Neymar (8) and Paulinho (7).

With one former champion in Italy failing to qualify for the big dance, it is perhaps safe to say that one of the remaining seven former champions will add to their World Cup title tally.

This year too, as the Brazilian training ground opened for fans for a single day to watch their stars practice ahead of their departure for warm-ups and Russian Federation, thousands flocked to the stadium, even breaking past security just to get a glimpse of their players.

Argentina captain Messi, one of the biggest stars in Russian Federation, said his global future will be determined by his country's performance at the World Cup.

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Argentina lost the 2014 World Cup final 1-0 to Germany after extra time, before suffering successive defeats by Chile on penalties at the Copa America in 2015 and 2016. Asked which team he will support as a fan in the FIFA World Cup, Rathore said, "I see with what commitment and passion the players play". By cycling through alternative combinations of variables, we get a sense of which characteristics matter for success and which stay on the bench.

Neymar and Co. open their 2018 World Cup campaign versus Switzerland on Sunday 18th June, before facing Costa Rica then Serbia.

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In Coutinho they have a brilliant playmaker, in Paulinho they have a traditional box-to-box midfielder, and in Casemiro they have a resolute holder.

"The last World Cup, they had the genius in Neymar, but he was kicked out of the competition and what was left was a bunch of forwards who shouldn't have been wearing the shirt".

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