Before the World Cup began, most observers felt that the settled nature of Brazil's side was a huge advantage. Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari seemed to have found the winning formula during the Confederations Cup, providing answers to questions that had troubled the Seleção for years.
Luiz Gustavo and Paulinho emerged as a genuine centre-midfield pairing after months of uncertainty; Júlio César made the goalkeeping berth his own; Hulk silenced his doubters to become a certain starter; Fred jumped to the head of the queue of slightly underwhelming Brazilian strikers. Everywhere you looked, there was stability. "We have a team," remarked former Seleção striker Tostão with customary succinctness.
How quickly things change. After four largely underwhelming World Cup games, the local press is conducting an ongoing inquest into Brazil's tactical set-up.
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