Why it’s Neymar’s World Cup to lose as Brazil begin Qatar 2022 campaign; USA will have to deal with Harry Kane

Happy Thanksgiving and welcome back to the Golazo XI Newsletter. I’m Igor Mello, filling in for Mike Goodman, who is brining the turkey, and Roger Gonzalez, who is preparing the pumpkin pie. The menu calls for a heaping dose of Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo for leftovers in what should be an interesting afternoon of Turkey footy.

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Otherwise, let’s get to it!

World Cup schedule:

Remember, when the World Cup ends and Champions League resumes, you’ll be able to catch all the action on Paramount+. Use offer code ALLYEAR now to get 50% off the annual plan. We’ve got UEFA club competitions, Serie A, NWSL, FA Women’s Super League and more just one click away.

⚽  The Forward Line

It’s Neymar’s World Cup to lose

As your resident Brazilian scribe, it would be remiss if I didn’t share my excitement for what we are about to witness from a Brazilian team that qualified in style (45 points from 17 games with no losses) in South America and is fired up to bounce back from a disappointing elimination to Belgium in the 2018 quarterfinals. Reaching the quarterfinals is never satisfactory in the eyes of Brazilian fans, given the fact that they have lifted football’s greatest prize five times, more than any other nation. They entered the tournament with the shortest odds to win it all at +400 (courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook) and they have seen Argentina and Germany suffer upsets already, which has to make them feel good about their chances given that only one team has ever won the World Cup after losing the opening game (Spain, 2010). In fact, it’s been 88 years since Brazil lost a World Cup opener

That brings us to the man of the hour: Neymar da Silva Santos Junior. There’s a lot riding on the shoulders of the 30-year-old Paris Saint-Germain man, who suffered a broken bone in his lower back at home in 2014 before the 7-1 humiliation at the hands of Germany, and came up short four years ago with only two goals to his name and thousands of memes for rolling on the floor after being hunted by defenders. He has suggested in recent interviews that this could be his last World Cup because he does not know if he has “the strength of mind to deal with football any more.”

“I’ll do everything to turn up well, do everything to win with my country, to realize my greatest dream since I was little,” he said in a DAZN documentary. “And I hope I can do it.”

Listen below and follow In Soccer We Trust: A CBS Sports Soccer Podcast where your three favorite former USMNT players cover everything you could possibly want to know about the United States men’s national team during the World Cup in Qatar.

His supporting cast has never been as strong as it is today, with Vinicius Junior, Richarlison, and Raphinha all projected to start in the attack, and an embarrassment of attacking riches on the bench, which includes the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Rodrygo, Antony, Gabriel Martinelli and Pedro. He’s won just about every big trophy imaginable since bursting onto the scene as a teenage prodigy from Santos and he’s two goals away from matching Pele on Brazil’s all-time goalscoring list. He’s coming into Qatar red-hot with 20 goal contributions (11 goals, nine assists) in 14 matches for PSG. Adding a sixth star to Brazil’s crest would be the ultimate crowning achievement and a perfect way to ride off into the sunset in international play.

🔗  Midfield Link Play

Kane available for USMNT vs. England

As if fans of the United States men’s national team needed more reason to feel pessimistic about the upcoming game against England, Gareth Southgate on Thursday announced that Harry Kane is available to play following an ankle injury suffered in the opening game against Iran. The English are unbeaten in their last five meetings against the U.S., with four wins and a memorable draw coming in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. They can qualify for the round of 16 with a win. As for the U.S., it’s obvious that a mere point against the Three Lions would be monumental in the push to make it out of the group following a 1-1 draw to Wales.

Craving more World Cup coverage? Listen below and follow House of Champions, a daily CBS Sports soccer podcast, bringing you top-notch analysis, commentary, picks and more during the big games in Qatar. 

Let’s get to some links:

💰  The Back Lines

Best bets

We’re gonna focus on the big boys scoring goals today. What better way to cash your bets than to watch some of the biggest stars of the tournament put the ball in the back of the net.

All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

  • Portugal vs. Ghana, Thursday, 11 a.m. ET 
    💰 THE PICK: Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick (+2200). We’re swinging big for our first Thanksgiving Day pick, and if you manage to nail this one down, you’ll probably have a ton to spend on Black Friday. Look, we know how this one goes. Ronaldo lives for the spotlight drama. He just got kicked to the curb by Man United and you know he’s itching to show the world he’s not washed and still has something left in the tank.
  • Brazil vs. Serbia, Thursday, 2 p.m. ET 
    💰 THE PICK: Neymar anytime scorer (+110). We just finished waxing poetic about Brazil’s chances. He’s the star of the team, the creator and someone who likes to spend a good portion of the game rolling on the ground after fouls. He’s also the penalty-kick taker on said fouls, so all it takes is one bad challenge inside the box from the Serbian defense. I like my chances here.

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