Brazil is very ordinary without Neymar, says Hoddle
Glenn Hoddle feels that the World Cup hosts were very lucky to beat Croatia in the opening game and argues that there is too much pressure on their key man
Former England manager Glenn Hoddle believes that Brazil need to step up in order to stop Neymar from having to try to win the World Cup on his own.
The hosts saw off Croatia 3-1 in the first game of the tournament on Thursday, with the Barcelona star scoring twice, but benefited from some controversial refereeing decisions.
Though impressed by Neymar's confidence, Hoddle argues that the Selecao do not offer much else about which to get excited, leaving the finals "wide open".
"Brazil were very lucky with their win, which was due to refereeing decisions and goalkeeping errors," he wrote for williamhill.com.
"Brazil got away with it. Croatia certainly did enough to merit a draw.
"This was not the Brazil of the 1970s or the '80s. Luiz Felipe Scolari is playing it very tight and the team are relying on magic from Neymar.
"If Neymar isn't pulling the strings then Brazil look a very ordinary team.
"This leaves the tournament wide open and Brazil will need to improve a lot if they are going to be successful against better teams in this tournament – starting [on Tuesday] against Mexico.
"The sign of a truly great player is that you don't actually have to be at your best on occasions but you can still affect the game and you could see the belief in Neymar when he stepped up to take the penalty.
"He knew he was going to score (although it shouldn't have been a penalty in the first place) but there is an awful lot of pressure on his young shoulders for Brazil to go all the way in this tournament."
Brazil 3-1 Croatia: World Cup 2014 Opening Match
World Cup 2014