The UP 2024 Copa America Preview, Pt. 3: Can a New-Look Brazil Rewrite Recent Disappointments?

On talent alone, Brazil is a candidate to win the 2024 Copa America. However, the five-time FIFA World Cup winners are not in a rosy bracket and could face elimination early in the tournament. Under a new coach and without Neymar, Brazil will look to get back on track in 2024.

Brazil was supposed to enter the 2024 Copa America sending a powerful message to the world: “We’re back, and this time we have Carlo Ancelotti.” Instead, the Italian manager toyed with the idea of coaching Brazil, but eventually back tracked and signed an extension with Real Madrid, proving that big name European managers are not that interested in coaching in the Americas, even with major national teams like Argentina or Brazil, let alone the United States. (Do you hear that USMNT X pundits?)

After basically making an announcement that Ancelotti was coming and getting off to a poor World Cup qualifying campaign where Brazil sits sixth on a horrific three-game losing streak, the federation was left with a lot of egg on its face.

Enter Dorival Júnior, Brazil’s new manager. Compared to Ancelotti, he’s nothing to really write home about, basically the same type of manager Brazil has had for the last 30 years, with the exception of Tite. Dorival seems to fit the mold of just another manager in a long list of “just another managers” for the Brazilian national team.

 Dorival Júnior’s Style of Play

Dorival, 61, has no real definitive style. He’s an adaptor, something completely different than what the federation was after with Ancelotti, who is a remarkable leader and manager of egos as well as a solid and tactical manager.

Dorival is known for liking fast-paced soccer and flexibility in his attack and formations, also common with previous Brazil managers. In his first two games in charge, Brazilian fans saw a solid win over England and a wild 3-3 draw with Spain. For a team playing some very demoralizing soccer as of late, it was a major self-esteem lift for Brazil, whose last major victory was a 2-0 win over Argentina in 2019 during the Copa America.

Still, Dorival is a major downgrade from the aspirations of bringing in a manager of the quality of Ancelotti. His biggest accomplishment is winning the Copa Libertadores title with Flamengo in 2022. After that he has a few state titles in Brazil, but also an up-and-down career to account for 26 managerial jobs, all in Brazil.

Star Power

With a full-time national team manager finally in place, Brazil is hoping to get the best out of Vinícius Júnior, who somehow has only three goals for the national team. In addition to Vinícius, Sávio, Endrick, and André are the next batch of new faces for Brazil.

Richarlison is a player that looks set to become a major star at the national team level. With 20 goals in 48 caps, he has been positing himself as the next “face” of the national team without Neymar.

Other players left of the last roster like Gabriel Martinelli, Casemiro, Marquinhos, and Ederson are all in the mix. Brazil on paper is a contender, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen this team reach the potential of its individual talent.

Road in Copa America

copa america 2024

Brazil does not have it easy in the Copa America, with Colombia, Paraguay, and Costa Rica in Group D. Despite what should be a win against Costa Rica in their opening group game, their final group match against Colombia could be the decider on who finishes first or second in their group.

After that it could be a date with the United States or Uruguay from Group C. While Brazil must like their chances against the U.S., against Uruguay, the Brazilian national team was very exposed by Marcelo Bielsa’s side, which was able to cut off critical passing lanes and killed Brazil’s defense on quick counters.

Copa America Outlook

Brazil is and should always be considered a top pick to win it all, no matter what the tournament is. If the national team plays to its potential, few teams can rival Brazil in the world, let alone the Americas. Brazil has a collection of stars that few other nations can boast.

Still, since Qatar 2022, the national team has been in limbo, and now with Dorival, another uninspiring coach, the federation hopes that the team can get out of its funk and win a Copa America to bring back faith in the program.

Brazil can go far, but there will be traps along the way. This is a team born to win titles, and that’s exactly what the expectation everyone will have. Anything less than a celebration will come as a disappointment.

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