My job when Brazil won the 2002 World Cup was to be invisible on the pitch – if I did it well, it made things easier for the players in front of me, as well as myself.
It’s the same situation now for Casemiro, the defensive midfielder who is at the heart of this Brazil team trying to end our 20-year wait to win it again. He has a great responsibility in my former position.
Just like in 2002, we have plenty of attackers to make the difference this time – not just Neymar, who will miss the rest of the group stage through injury.
I can understand why some people only talk about this part of our team, but to win a World Cup you have to remember the other parts too.
Whichever coach chooses to play forward now, it’s always important for us to be solid defensively.
Right now, I think we have the right balance. I am very happy with our back four and also the players in front of them who teach the team to be solid.
This is where Casemiro’s intelligence holds the key.
The art of the presenter in the Brazilian midfield
You have to be smart to play as a midfielder for an attacking team like Brazil, and you also have to be patient. Let me explain why.
It’s not just about being the tough player, the one who tackles everyone. It’s only a small part of the whole role, and even then you have to be smart about picking the right time for a challenge.
Instead, you need to read the game and figure out where you should be, which is usually in the middle of everything.
Your location is the most important thing. If you pick the right line in the field, from there you can see everything and spot any danger – well, most of the time.
For me with Brazil, that usually meant having a few forwards more up front and only the centre-backs behind me, with the full-backs lined up between them. If you look at Casemiro, that’s where he is too.
From there, you are in control. You have control when the ball passes from one side to the other – even if you don’t touch it – simply because you are where you need to be.
To be the Brazilian player who does not recover the ball
Sounds easy, but the hardest thing for some players to understand about this role is knowing what to do when you don’t have the ball, because sometimes in this position you don’t get it as much as the others.
You see some players get distracted when this happens. They want the ball, they don’t have it. So they get frustrated and lose their position.
It may only be for a split second, but it’s enough. If you leave the space where you should be, your team is caught red-handed…and your opponents will have a chance.
Casemiro never let that happen against Serbia in our opening game in Group G, and it has to be the same no matter who we face in Qatar.
It would have been easy for him to go forward in a game where we had a lot of ball possession, but he only touched the ball once in the final third of the pitch – when Brazil were leading 2-0 with 12 minutes remaining, and he hit the bar with a shot from outside the area.
Instead, he kept his discipline, held his territory and was always ready in case we lost the ball.
Even when he picked it up, he knew that, in his position, he didn’t need to run with it.
I was the same. I always thought that at some point the guys in front would lose the ball and that’s when I should run – to get it back and give it to them to try again!
Why Fred is the perfect midfield partner
You can’t do all of this on your own, of course.
Casemiro started alongside Lucas Paqueta in Brazil’s first group game, but finished the game alongside his usual partner for the national team, Manchester United team-mate Fred.
I’ve seen them play many matches together now and, for Brazil, they’ve only lost once – the 2021 Copa America final against Argentina.
It works very well because Casemiro sits at the back like me and Fred is more mobile, like Kleberson was when he was next to me in our midfield at the 2002 World Cup.
But Fred is also solid defensively. He’s not only ahead of Casemiro, he’s also playing alongside him and helping him do his job.
They get along now and I hope that partnership will work again at this World Cup. If we want to win it, it will play such an important role.
Gilberto Silva was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan in Doha.