World Cup 2022: Alisson Becker, Casemiro, Richarlison – Brazil’s world champion axis

Status: 08.12.2022 08:33 a.m

Neymar’s return helped Brazil a lot in the World Cup round of 16 against South Korea. But the mainstays are the central players Alisson Becker, Casemiro and Richarlison.

Brazil has already survived its great drama. Neymar’s injury from the first group game against Serbia (2-0) has healed, in the round of 16 against South Korea (4-1) the team’s superstar was back on the pitch and helped his team shine again.

For many, Neymar is the key to the announced title at the World Cup in Qatar and of course also in the quarter-finals on Friday (December 9th, 2022, 4 p.m.) against Croatia. But in the first four games of the Selecao it turned out that there is also an indispensable axis in the team. It includes the three central players Alisson (goalkeeper), Casemiro (defensive midfield) and Richarlison (center forward), all of whom acted at a world champion level right from the start.

Casemiro”long time the best midfielder in the world

Neymar specifically highlighted one of these professionals. “Casemiro has long been the best midfielder in the world“Wrote Neymar on Twitter after the Brazilian six decided the game against Switzerland (1-0) with a dream goal. The goal is not necessarily the basis of Neymar’s argument, but rather Casemiro’s successes in recent years – in which he always has one played an important role.

The 30-year-old won the Champions League five times with Real Madrid, and for many years he formed Real’s midfield together with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. “I call it the Bermuda Triangle because the ball disappears into it“said Carlo Ancelotti, coach of the Royal. Casemiro was the clearer in the center, Kroos and Modric the ball distributors around him.

The protector of the creative

In the summer, however, the Brazilian decided to leave Real and now he is playing for Manchester United. Kroos and Modric insisted on saying goodbye to him with an emotional letter. “I’ll miss you. As a model professional. As a top player. As a fighter. But most of all as a great person‘ wrote Kroos. Modric referred to Casemiro in his writing as ‘the best bodyguard in the world“.

The magic was done by others at Real Madrid, Casemiro was the magicians’ bodyguard. Now he goes to Manchester United – and Madrid becomes melancholic.

This is also confirmed at the World Cup. Casemiro wins 55 percent of his tackles and always has the back of the five offensive players in the Brazilian line-up. Only because of his strength and presence in midfield do Neymar and Co. have the opportunity to develop freely. The defensive work takes over “body guard” Casemiro for you. Brasilian also noticed how important he is for the team at the 2018 World Cup. Casemiro was absent in the quarter-finals against Belgium – and the South Americans failed.

Alisson shines against South Korea

The strong Brazilian defense does not only live from its clearance and the two strong central defenders Marquinhos and Thiago Silva, but also from having one of the best goalkeepers in the world in the team. Seen in this way, Brazil even have two of them, because substitute Ederson is also one of the absolute elite in his position – but coach Tite decided to put Alisson Becker in goal. And this assessment is paying off.

In the group stage, the Liverpool keeper could only show his class with the ball at his feet or in mastering the penalty area. In his two games against Serbia and Switzerland he didn’t get a shot on goal. Against South Korea, he then showed what great skills he has on the line. He had to save six balls, five of which he was able to parry – most of them in a spectacular way. Of course, the offensive spectacle stood out that evening, the result would have been much tighter without the strong contribution of the goalkeeper.

Football lifesaver from Klopp

Before the tournament, Alisson had gone through a weaker phase. Among other things, in the top game against Manchester City (1: 4) he made several mistakes. However, his coach strengthened the 30-year-old – because Alisson has played a big part in making Liverpool (2019 Champions League winners) one of the best clubs in Europe again. “I would say that he was decisive today” said Jürgen Klopp after said game against Manchester City. “But that’s okay because I don’t know how many times he’s saved our lives. He’s an absolutely world-class goalkeeper.”

Copa final, Olympics, World Cup – Richarlison always scores for Brazil

Richarlison is also on his way to world class. The 25-year-old hasn’t had any success in club football, but he knows exactly how to win trophies with the Brazilian national team. In 2019 he won the Copa America with the Selecao, scoring in the final against Peru shortly before the end to make it 3-1. Things went even better for him at the 2021 Olympic Games, when Richarlison not only won gold with Brazil, but also became top scorer with five goals.

He could still win this title in Qatar. Richarlison has already scored three goals, putting him in the chasing group behind Kylian Mbappé, who has scored five times so far. However, the Brazilian’s sense of achievement stands out, his side kick against Serbia to make it 2-0 and his goal after a fantastic combination against South Korea to make it 3-0 are perhaps the two most beautiful goals of the tournament.

Also off the pitch with great commitment

Richarlison is the most successful Brazilian player this year with 13 goals and he is making a splash on the biggest stage at this World Cup. But he’s also one of those professionals who don’t just identify with their performance on the pitch. Richarlison is also involved in other issues.

In Brazil, contrary to the announcements of ex-President Jair Bolsonaro, who always downplayed the corona virus, he repeatedly publicly called for vaccinations, donated food baskets and oxygen bottles to sick people in order to relieve the health system. And a few months before the World Cup, Richarlison (nicknamed “Pigeon”) adopted a jaguar, according to him, to raise awareness of the importance of conservation.

Richarlison is referred to by activists and politicians as “model citizen” and “hero“, he also campaigns for the rights of gays, lesbians and other minorities and fights against racism. “You don’t need a degree to understand that in Brazil many people are cornered or killed by racism every day,” Richarlison said in an interview two years ago.

Richarlison scores, Tite dances

In Qatar, however, football comes first. Richarlison is looking to win his third title with the Brazilian team. He is regarded as a model professional and gives everything in every training session. And he did something no one in Brasilian thought possible: he made his trainer Tite dance. After Richarlison’s goal against South Korea, the 61-year-old also turned his hips.

The Brazilians celebrate every goal with a created dance. In three games, they want to gather again on their dance floor, the Qatar World Cup lawn, for a great collective celebration. Her world champion axis takes care of the music.