Brazil's World Cup squad a 'who's who' of attacking stars -- but who backs up Neymar?

"You can only win for the sixth time if you've already won five"-- that was part of the lyrics to a video clip that Brazil played just before announcing on Monday a World Cup squad that they hope will end a 20-year wait for the title.

Confidence is high. Recent results have been excellent, and, as the squad shows, coach Tite has derived the benefit of a full cycle in charge of the national team.

Tite had less than two years in the run up to 2018 edition in Russia. There were players in that squad with almost no chance of getting on the field because they had never really been part of the process. A handful were merely making up the numbers. But if four years ago Brazil had problems filling up a list of 23, this time they had the opposite challenge -- with three more places available.

Who to leave out in a list of 26? Many of the headlines will go to an inclusion that may be a surprise -- that of 39-year-old Daniel Alves -- and some of the first questions in the news confidence were about the former Barcelona right-back, now with Liga MX team Pumas and with little recent football behind him.

The Brazil coaching staff have been following Alves closely and are convinced that he is fit enough -- especially as the role of the full-back in Tite's team is radically different from the way they played in sides of the past. Brazil are no longer looking for auxiliary wingers, for Cafu and Roberto Carlos to keep running up and down the line. At his current age, there is no way that Alves could carry out that function. Instead, Brazil see him (and Danilo, the likely first choice right-back) holding the defensive line, tucking in as an extra midfielder and helping build play from the back -- a role that requires more brain power than lung power.

But there must have been a temptation to leave out Alves, go with just one right-back in the squad, and use centre-back Eder Militao as possible cover for the position. This would have opened up an extra slot for an attacker -- because it was here that Tite had to make his hardest decision.

A few weeks ago it seemed clear that Gabriel Martinelli would not make the final list. There simply was not a place available for him. But, week after week, his form for Arsenal could not be ignored. How could Tite fit him in? One option was to leave out Alves, which was decided against. The other way out was to find someone else to drop -- and that someone turned out to be Roberto Firmino.

It seemed as if the Liverpool striker had rediscovered his form at the right time. But in the end it did not prove enough. It is a decision that may well have given the coach some sleepless nights -- and which could even come back to haunt him. There is a potential problem with the choice of Martinelli over Firmino. Brazil are exceptionally well served for strikers in wide positions. The first choices are Raphinha on the right and Vinicius Junior on the left, with Antony and Rodrigo as backups -- and now Martinelli as well.

But who backs up Neymar? Brazil have to plan for the possibility of Neymar missing a game. He picked up a yellow card in both Brazil's recent friendlies, comfortable wins over Ghana and Tunisia. The colour of the card against Tunisia could have been red. There is the chance that he might be suspended for a vital game -- as, for example, happened to Casemiro in the fateful quarterfinal against Belgium four years ago. And if Neymar is forced out, who would be the obvious substitute in the false No. 9 role that he currently fills for the national team?

Firmino would seem to be the most natural substitute. Tite describes Neymar as both bow and arrow, a constructor from behind the front line and a finisher in the penalty area. Firmino gives him something similar. The coaching staff also could have seen Phillippe Coutinho as a potential Neymar substitute, but he has lost form, and now fitness, and will not be in Qatar.

The options? Rodrygo is the man of the future, a wonderfully intelligent all around talent who will surely have a massive role in Brazil's future. But is he ready to step in for Neymar? Perhaps the attacking versatility of Gabriel Jesus could come into its own. But the lack of a clear back up in this crucial position looks like an imbalance in what, in general, looks like a squad with the talent and strength in depth sufficient to make them genuine title contenders.

Brazil are on their way to Qatar with their sights set on title number six -- and hoping that nothing bad happens to Neymar along the way