Ronaldo, Romario, Pele, Bebeto, Ademir…even Arthur Friedenreich, Brazil have a legendary tradition for producing strikers seemingly born to score goals. The nation has, throughout its history, generated sublime forwards as though it has been its duty to do so.
In four World Cups the top scorer has been a Brazilian, but, despite home advantage, one struggles to see either Fred or Jo taking home both the Golden Boot and a World Cup winner’s medal.
While Jo has scored in the side’s last two contests, both goals came against tired legs and with the match almost already won. The striker wasn’t even part of Scolari’s plans before injury deprived Brazil of Leandro Damiao.
The forward has certainly made the most of his opportunities, but I struggle to see the former Manchester City man leading the line with great aplomb next summer.
Fred has failed to find the net so far in the Confederations Cup, and while he doesn’t look out of place as part of the Selecao’s outfit, he is hardly Tostao reborn.
It may be that Leandro Damiao is the man to lead the line next summer, the striker certainly appears to have all of the tools, and despite boasting a fairly uninspiring international strike rate, certainly has time on his side.
Other contenders will doubtless enter the reckoning between now and the World Cup, as Scolari aims to correct this potential weakness.
I can’t help but imagine Alex Pato leading the line next summer. The former Milan man will be 24 by the time the World Cup rolls around, and he will have been earmarked for years as the natural fit for the No. 9 shirt.
Severe injuries may have curtailed his European adventure for now, but Scolari, like Mano Menezes before him, is aware of the forward’s natural abilities and has appeared keen to include him in the national setup.
Now back in Brazil, finding his feet with Corinthians, don’t bet against Pato making the cut if he can stay injury free and rediscover the form which once identified him as the heir to the glory of a nation.