Mauro Silva has insisted Brazil are much more than Neymar plus ten and compared the pressure on them to win the next FIFA World Cup™ to what they experienced going into USA 1994.
“The more times that passes without Brazil winning the World Cup, the more the pressure increases,” the 59-times-capped former midfielder told Globo. “You have to see this as an opportunity, not as pressure. The calmer the player is on the pitch, the better he’ll play, the more he’ll produce.
“The time that’s passed without Brazil winning the World Cup is what we experienced in ’94. You have the chance to write your name in history as being the Seleção that won the World Cup after so many years.
“But it’s important to have emotional balance, calmness. Tite has started the job very well – I think we’ve got our confidence back. But we can’t be overconfident. I think we have to keep working in the same manner.
“We have all the requirements to win the World Cup in Russia. Now there’s a lot ahead. Germany also have a good team, Spain, other teams [too]. It’s important for us to keep working hard without too much euphoria.”
A great among greats
Brazil have won all six of their matches under Tite to storm four points clear of second-placed Uruguay in South American qualifying for Russia 2018. Mauro Silva attributes this form to the collective efforts of the players.
“Neymar is a great player, just like Romario was, but it’s important that we appreciate the team,” said the man who played 471 games for Deportivo La Coruna – a total surpassed only by Fran. “I think the Seleção have other great players. There’s Philippe Coutinho, there’s Daniel Alves, there’s Marcelo – they have a great team.
“Obviously, Neymar is technically a benchmark nowadays, but Neymar wouldn’t win a World Cup on his own, just like Romario didn’t. Of course, [Romario] was a standout player, he was important, but we have to think of Bebeto, Leonardo, Jorginho, Taffarel, other great players who really helped the success.
“Undoubtedly, the comparison [between Romario and Neymar] is meaningful, but I see a great team with great players. I think Neymar’s role is important, being technically the team leader, but it’s a great national team.”
*'Extraordinary' Casemiro *
Mauro Silva did, nonetheless, shower one individual in praise – one who operates in the defensive midfield role in which he thrived alongside Dunga.
“Casemiro is in a spectacular moment, both with Real Madrid and the national team,” said the 48-year-old. “He ended up getting injured, not playing [in Brazil’s last four qualifiers], but he’s in an extraordinary moment.
“He’s being a reference in front of the defence, providing solidity and defensive calmness that is very important for the national team. In other games that he didn’t participate in, Fernandinho ended up playing and deputised very well, but Casemiro really is the specialist in that position.”