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I Can't See Anyone Beating Brazil In The World Cup-Jermaine Jenas
Jun 23, 2018

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Jermaine Jenas: 'I can't see anyone beating Brazil in the World Cup'

Who's going to win it?

I've changed my mind a few times in the build-up, but now I can't see past Brazil. If they perform, I can't see who's going to beat them. If Firmino can't get in the team, you've got to wonder! I love their midfield. They got torn apart in midfield at the last World Cup and people said they had a soft centre. But look at it now: Paulinho, Fernandinho, Casemiro, they are solid. They've got the flair at the top end, and then that's not even mentioning how they can bring on the likes of Willian. I don't think I've ever seen them have such a strong core to their side. I know that no South American side has won a World Cup in Europe, but Brazil won in unfamiliar territory when they played in Japan and South Korea in 2002, and so many of their players play in Europe now that that can't be a factor.

They might have scars from the last tournament, but I think they'll use it as fuel. There's always so much pressure on a Brazil team. They are expected to win it every time and match the legacy of various great teams of the past. But they generally find a way to relax and enjoy themselves and I think they'll do it again. The key for me will be the central defensive players such as Miranda, Thiago Silva and Marquinhos. If they do what they're supposed to – because that's really where they were caught out last time – they are going to be very hard to beat because there's going to be no shortage of flair everywhere on the pitch. They just need to watch that their defenders actually defend, because Danilo and Marcelo are both borderline attackers. Don't push up too much and forget what you are there to do.

Who's going to disappoint?

I've got a weird feeling about Belgium. They feel like the England team I played in: so many good players, so many stars, but they don't seem to be able to quite put it together. They've had a good qualifying campaign and Romelu Lukaku is on fire, but I remember watching them at the Euros and not enjoying one game they played. Unbelievable players in almost every position, but they are my biggest worry because the level of expectation is really high.

Who might be the surprise package?

No one seems to talk about Portugal, but I have a sneaking feeling they might do well. I don't think they got the respect they were due for winning the Euros. They are very strong defensively. They know what they are doing and they almost remind me of Leicester the year they won the Premiership. They're not going to ship many goals and they've got Cristiano Ronaldo up front and some useful midfielders such as Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, who is coming through. But that defensive unit could take them a long way.