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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Brazil team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Brazil ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group F):

  • v Croatia - 13 June, 2000 BST, Berlin
  • v Australia - 18 June, 1700 BST, Munich
  • v Japan - 22 June, 2000 BST, Dortmund

    How did they get to Germany: Cruised comfortably through qualification, only beaten twice in 18 games and pipped Argentina to first place in the group table.

    Qualifying star: The goals have dried up of late, but even with 10, Ronaldo was south America's top scorer in qualification. Against Argentina in 2004 he looked like a player from another planet when he won and scored three penalties.

    Manager: The vastly experienced Carlos Alberto Parreira. Ended the long drought when he took Brazil to victory in USA 94, and was on the coaching staff as far back as 1970. Has previously led four different teams to the finals - Kuwait (1982), UAE (1990), Brazil (1994) and Saudi Arabia (1998).

    Cafu

    Captain: Ageless AC Milan right-back Cafu, an example of dedication and perseverance. The only man to appear in three consecutive World Cup finals. Can he make it four?

    World Cup pedigree: Five times winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002), twice runners-up (1950 and 1998), the reigning champions and the only country to have appeared in every World Cup. In short, the guv'nors.

    World Cup high: Most would go for 1970, beamed by TV all over the world. But the old timers are adamant that, man for man, the 1958 team were better - and, for now at least, it is the only time they have won in Europe.

    World Cup low: The chaos of 1966, when they had trouble whittling down a squad of 44 and went out in the first round, and Italia 90, when with a sweeper system and a plethora of defensive midfielders they went home early.

    World Cup legend: It could only be Pele - from the youthful exuberance of the 17-year-old in 1958 to the polished displays of the finished article 12 years later, nobody has done more to make the World Cup such a global success.

    Ronaldinho

    Present star man: Their attacking resources stand comparison with anything they have had in their glorious history, but Barcelona's magical, mercurial Ronaldinho - two-time World Player of the Year - is the main man.

    Strengths: The unparalleled individual ability of their stars, all of whom are used to the big occasion, plus their superb physical preparation that set them apart in 2002.

    Weaknesses: The possibility that their stars might have a collective off day, occasional defensive problems in the air - despite the height of their centre-backs - and a vulnerability in the space behind the full-backs.

    Did you know: Brazil played their first four World Cups in white shirts, only switching to the world famous yellow after losing at home to Uruguay in 1950.

    World ranking: 1

    Odds: 9/4 fav

    Local view: "The current generation is spectacular, perhaps the best ever. If Ronaldo hasn't worn himself out during the season, he can really put on a show. He can become their top scorer in World Cups and equal Pele by winning his third. I'm backing him and Brazil to pull it off." Flavio Orro, TV Globo.

    Our verdict: Even losing in the final will be seen as failure. Living up to such expectations will not be easy. They all have European experience, but so did the majority in 1998. With their talent the status of favourites is clearly justified and win or lose, there should be some moments of magic to cherish.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.



  • 2006 WORLD CUP TEAM GUIDES
     

    SEE ALSO
    Pick your Brazil XI
    18 May 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: Brazil
    17 Nov 05 |  Country profiles


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