World Cup Team Profile - Brazil
Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari
Captain: Thiago Silva (PSG)
Full Brazil Roster
The Road to Rio: Well, that was easy … Brazil qualified automatically as hosts.
The hosts have been keeping busy with a full slate of friendlies as well as winning the 2013 Confederations Cup, which they also hosted.
Brazil has kept their slate competitive playing 12 of their 17 friendlies since February 2013 against squads that qualified (or would qualify) for the World Cup.
Last World Cup appearance: South Africa 2010 (Quarter-Finals)
First World Cup appearance: Uruguay 1930 (Runners-Up)
Previous World Cup appearances: 19
Best World Cup finish: Champions (5 -Sweden 1958, Chile 1962, Mexico 1970, United States 1994, Korea/Japan 2002)
The host team wants to put on a show for the home crowd and anything less than Thiago Silva hoisting the World Cup Trophy at Estadio do Maracana on July 13 in Rio will be seen as a disappointment.
Fresh off of a Confederations Cup triumph last summer, the Selecao enter the World Cup as the preemptive favourites and this certainly has not been lost on "Big Phil" Scolari. In his second tour of duty as Brazil gaffer, Scolari will attempt to emulate the success the team achieved while he was in charge in South Korea 2002, the site of Brazil's last World Cup victory.
Talent and depth are not an issue for Brazil as both are there in spades. What isn't there, however, is the international experience that Selecao sides of the past have had. By virtue of hosting the World Cup, Brazil automatically qualified for the tournament and, outside of the Confederations Cup, hasn't played any games of consequence since the 2011 Copa America and only nine players from that squad are returning.
We may not find out if this Brazil squad is ready for prime time until after the group stage. History is on the Selecao's side as Brazil has emerged from the group stage in every World Cup since 1970 and, considering its Group A opposition, that trend should continue this year.
Neymar will be the side's sparkplug. Employed on the wing in a likely 4-3-3, the Barcelona star will spearhead an offence that features flair in the likes of Oscar (Chelsea), industry from Paulinho (Spurs) and power in Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg) and Fred (Fluminense). If this core can replicate the performances put on display last summer, scoring goals will be of no worry to the Selecao.
The Brazilian defence is sterling and among the world's best. There are few squads who will field a stronger starting backline than Dani Alves (Barca), Silva, David Luiz (soon to be PSG) and Marcelo (Real Madrid). The movement of Alves and Marcelo opens up space for the wingers and the pair is a constant menace down the flank.
This team is built to win. Will it? That's another story altogether, but the idea of the Selecao slipping up and an Argentina or Uruguay capturing the World Cup on Brazilian soil is enough to haunt the minds of an entire nation.