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Who are the champions? Second

Brazil

A global poll of football experts has been conducted by the BBC Sport website to produce a predicted top four at the 2010 World Cup.

We have been asking pundits, players, managers, journalists and other experts to give us their one-two-three-four forecast at the tournament, which kicks off in South Africa on Friday.

The identities of the top four are being revealed daily, one by one, with the outright tournament winner and all the individual selections published on Thursday.

So far, we have revealed our survey envisaged England would finish in fourth position, with Argentina third.

606: DEBATE

And now we can announce the team predicted to finish runners-up is BRAZIL.

The five-time champions proved a popular selection with our experts, including World Cup winners Sir Geoff Hurst and Roberto Rivelino.

However, they did not secure enough votes to be forecast as the overall tournament winners this time.

World Cup guide: Brazil

World Cup guide - Brazil

International users can view Brazil guide here

WHY THEY PICKED BRAZIL

Here are some reasons why pundits plumped for the team managed by Dunga.

Vitor Baia Former Portugal goalkeeper, 80 caps 1990-2002
"Brazil is the country with tradition and some of the best players in the world. No-one has the energy to stop them, when they play at their best."

Paul Chapman Journalist, covered German football since the 1970s
"Brazil have a defence which is athletic and firm and Lucio has had an outstanding season for Inter Milan at the centre of defence. Up front - so much speed , trickery and firepower. They for me start as favourites and I expect them to win it."

Lee Dixon Former England and Arsenal defender, BBC pundit
"All-round strong in every position with a good goalkeeper, at last. Creative from the back and solid, Lucio is a top centre-back. Devastating on the break. Unusual formation playing 4-2-2-2 but it works. And they have the best kit by far."

Piers Edwards BBC African football blogger
"Brazil could probably field two to three sides that could win a World Cup. They are the only nation to have won outside their continent and last year's Confederations Cup experience should count in their favour as well. Dunga's pragmatism is reminiscent of Carlos Alberto Parreira's in 1994.

Giancarlo Galavotti UK editor, La Gazzetta dello Sport
"Brazil have got the most solid squad in all departments. They have a great goalkeeper in Julio Cesar, very strong defenders, midfield and the strikers are always reliable. On paper they are the best-equipped team."

Paul Hansford Editor in chief, Four Four Two, Australia
"Brazil's 'joga bonito' style of football has always been enjoyable to watch but the philosophy has not always left them equipped to win the tournament. Under coach Dunga, I think Brazil are a more disciplined team and just as happy to grind out a 1-0 than run rings around opponents. They still have the flair players but Dunga's tactical nous makes them favourites to lift the trophy."

Sir Geoff HurstEngland's 1966 World Cup final hat-trick hero
"They have got a great World Cup pedigree and still produce an awful lot of fantastically skilled players in all positions. You only have to look at the magnificent players in their defence. They can even afford to leave out a very skilful player like Robinho.

Ray Houghton Former Republic of Ireland midfielder, 73 caps
"Brazil are the ones to beat for me but if Argentina can sort themselves out and get their best XI together then they will be the biggest threat and will have as good a chance as anyone."

Gonzalo Larrea Football journalist, Diario Deportivo, Uruguay
"I know it's not a very original answer but it seems logical to say that Brazil will win with the strength of their side. I'd also give a good outside bet to Argentina - when no-one considers them favourites, they tend to surprise."

Grzegorz Lato Polish Football Association president, 1974 World Cup top scorer
"It's difficult to make a pick for this World Cup because there are no weak teams - that's the beauty of football now. Brazil must be among the favourites but I think we can expect a surprise because Africa also has some good teams."

Phil Minshull European football blogger, BBC
"Brazil were emphatic winners of the South American qualification group and have continued to get better. Dunga has imparted his expertise as a World Cup-winning defender and Brazil these days have world-class men at the back as well as creative and artistic players up front."

John Murray BBC Radio 5 live commentator
"Brazil have the deepest pool of talent in world football, they are well organised by their coach Dunga, and have the experience behind them of winning in South Africa last year at the Confederations Cup. They should have the hunger too after a rather disappointing [for them] World Cup in Germany four years ago."

Gary Parkinson Editor of Four Four Two website
"They have the best players, which helps. They have the experience, which rarely hurts, certainly in their case, and they have a wise, determined manager, who is getting better all the time."

Tony Pulis Stoke City manager
"It's simple - Brazil have the best players in the world and their record at international tournaments is phenomenal. Those two factors separate them from the rest of the field."

Roberto Rivelino Former Brazil playmaker, capped 92 times 1965-78
"It is difficult to talk about a favourite. The traditional teams from Germany, Brazil, Italy and Argentina always get stronger. Today Spain and England are great too but football is walking with a technical level so low that it is capable of a surprise team."

Tim Vickery South America blogger, BBC
"Not always the most pleasing on the eye of Brazil sides and they can be stifled - but the Dunga team is looking like a ruthless winning machine, great on the counter-attack, stunning from set-pieces, physically and mentally strong. Will take a good side and a brave one to knock them out."

George Weah Former Liberia striker, 1995 World Player of Year
"Brazil have a unique style and are determined. They also have more strength than all the other teams. I hope they win. The United States are a serious team who could surprise the world."

Mario Zagallo Ex-Brazil winger, coach. Won World Cup as player (1958, 1962), manager (1970) and assistant coach (1994)
"Brazil always arrives as a favourite but I have a hunch that England may be a surprise. It is a strong team with an Italian coach."

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Brazil's World Cup qualifying highlights

A reminder that the predicted winner will be revealed on Thursday, along with the full top-four selections made by over 50 experts from more than 20 nations.

Work out who is going to win the World Cup with our interactive predictor and follow the progress of the 32 nations with our team tracker



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see also
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Who are the champions? Third
08 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Who are the champions? Fourth
07 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team guide: Brazil
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010


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related internet links:
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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
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Daily Express World Cup 2010: Lucio at the core of Brazil's defence - 16 hrs ago
The Scotsman Brazil need fading Kaka to rediscover golden touch - 17 hrs ago
Gambling Online The world at their feet - 20 hrs ago


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