Brazil has a golden opportunity to win a record sixth World Cup title in front of their fellow countrymen. It is sure to be a party atmosphere in the South American nation despite the recent street protests and questions surrounding whether it was wise for FIFA to award an emerging country the biggest sporting event in the world. Will Seleção Brasileira live up to expectations in their soccer-mad country with the eyes of the world upon them?
Surely Brazil is a favorite to be at the finish line along with powerhouses such as Spain and Germany. They have already proven they can beat the European heavyweights on their turf, defeating Spain 3-0 in last season’s Confederations Cup final. But if they don’t stay focused and allow the many potential distractions get to them, there could be a quick exit.
One cause for concern is the team’s manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, who guided Brazil to a 2002 World Cup title in South Korea and Japan but is currently under criminal investigation in Portugal. There are rumors that tax evasion could be the cause of the inquiry. If the investigation broadens then this could be an unwelcome distraction at a time when all the focus needs to be on the pitch.
However, with a star-crossed lineup on the 23-man final squad and the players feeding off the energy of their home fans, Brazil is more than capable of winning it all. The Green and Yellow (Verde-Amarela) are at the least a near lock to get past the group stages into the knockout rounds.
Brazil lucked out in Group A as the fourth ranked team in the world is competing against Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon with the first match scheduled against Croatia on June 12 at 4 p.m. ET in Sao Paulo.
Players to keep an eye on for something spectacular include Neymar, Fred, Oscar, David Luiz and Thiago Silva. But as you can see this is a formidable lineup no matter who is on the starting eleven.
Attack: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Neymar (Barcelona), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Fred (Fluminense), Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg)
Midfield: Paulinho (Tottenham), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Ramires (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea), Hernanes (Inter Milan)
Defense: Dante (Bayern Munich), Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Luiz (Chelsea), Henrique (Napoli), Maicon (Roma), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Maxwell (Paris Saint-Germain)
Goalkeeping: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC), Victor (Atletico Mineiro), Jefferson (Botafogo)
Prediction: The world wants Brazil to succeed, and the host nation will deliver by winning their record sixth World Cup title.