2014 World Cup: Predicting Brazil’s Starting XI

World Cup 2014: Predicting the Brazil Squad's Starting XI

Barcelona and Brazil attacker Neymar
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When the World Cup begins on June 12, the world's eyes will be focused on Brazil. There will be a lot of pressure on the home nation, who will take to the field carrying the expectations of victory on home soil. The majority of the team, within the chosen 4-2-3-1 formation, seems to be have been decided already, but there are still a couple of positions which could change before Brazil begin the tournament against Croatia.

Goalkeeper: Julio Cesar

Toronto FC and Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar
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Goalkeeper: Julio Cesar

Toronto FC and Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar
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Julio Cesar will be the first choice goalkeeper for Brazil when the World Cup kicks-off. The Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper (currently on loan at Toronto FC) has been a longtime servant for the Selecao, so far making 78 appearances after making his debut at the Copa America back in 2004. At 34, Cesar has a wealth of experience and will provide a reliable and steady pair of hands for the big occasion.

Right-Back: Dani Alves

Brazil right-back Dani Alves
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Right-Back: Dani Alves

Brazil right-back Dani Alves
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Barcelona star Dani Alves will be the undisputed choice at right-back. Veteran Maicon will provide backup, but he has no chance to usurp the attacking Alves. The latter gives Brazil some much-needed width, with the wingers up ahead preferring to roam into central areas, rather than run the flank.

Center-Back: David Luiz

Brazil and Chelsea center-back David Luiz
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Center-Back: David Luiz

Brazil and Chelsea center-back David Luiz
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The slightly unpredictable David Luiz will take his place at center-back for the home nation. Luiz has way above average ability for a center-back, but he also has questionable concentration at times too. Prone to errors as much as he is to the spectacular, it's never a dull game when Luiz is on the field. The Chelsea defender is also a danger for the opposition with free-kicks around the box.

Center-Back: Thiago Silva

Brazil captain Thiago Silva
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Center-Back: Thiago Silva

Brazil captain Thiago Silva
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Paris Saint-Germain center-back Thiago Silva will have the honor of leading the Brazil team out on home soil as the captain of the team. Silva has been one of the best defenders in Europe over the past few years and Brazil will need that kind of form if they hope to lift the trophy.

Left-Back: Marcelo

Real Madrid and Brazil left-back Marcelo
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Left-Back: Marcelo

Real Madrid and Brazil left-back Marcelo
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Marcelo, much like Dani Alves does on the right flank, will provide the alternate width for Brazil on the left-hand side. The Real Madrid defender has endured some injuries for his club recently, but the attacking left-back should be fit to take his place on the left side of the defense. Paris Saint-Germain player Maxwell will provide backup.

Central Midfield: Luiz Gustavo

Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo
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Central Midfield: Luiz Gustavo

Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo
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This is the area where it gets complicated for Brazil. Luiz Gustavo has been preferred as the more defensive of two central midfielders recently. But the emergence of Fernandinho at Manchester City this season, since moving from Shahktar Donetsk last summer, has put a question mark over both central midfield positions. Gustavo may keep his place due to the additional discipline he has in his game, which is vital for this position in this team.

Central Midfield: Paulinho

Tottenham and Brazil midfielder Paulinho
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Central Midfield: Paulinho

Tottenham and Brazil midfielder Paulinho
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Paulinho has had a rocky first season at Tottenham Hotspur. Paulinho, along with Luiz Gustavo, were the undisputed partnership for Luis Felipe Scolari in central midfield, but now, with Fernandinho's good form coinciding with Paulinho's bad form, nothing is certain anymore. Don't be surprised if Scolari sticks with Gustavo and Paulinho to start with, but a change could occur during the tournament if everything doesn't go to plan.

Attacking Midfield: Oscar

Brazil attacking midfielder Oscar
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Attacking Midfield: Oscar

8 Brazil attacking midfielder Oscar
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Oscar has enjoyed a good year at Chelsea under the returning Jose Mourinho. He provides great passing and vision and an ability to link the team together from his central attacking position. Oscar did lose his place in the Chelsea team toward the end of the season, but he should still be a starter for Brazil, as the central attacking midfielder behind the lone striker.

Right Wing: Hulk

Brazil attacker Hulk
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Right Wing: Hulk

Brazil attacker Hulk
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Hulk can be one of those players who blows hot and cold, depending on which side of bed he gets out of on that particular day. He can be devastating at his best, yet depressing at his worst. Brazil will need him at his best to achieve their ambitions, though, with his full repertoire of pace, power and goals on show.

Left Wing: Neymar

Brazil attacker Neymar
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Left Wing: Neymar

Brazil attacker Neymar
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Neymar is the golden boy of this Brazil lineup and he will be carrying an enormous amount of pressure when he steps onto the field in the Arena de Sao Paulo on June 12. This will be the time when he will be required to match all the hype which has surrounded him for so long for Brazil, if they're to be successful. Hyped as one of the best players in the world, he will need to be if Brazil are to achieve their aim of becoming World Cup winners.

Striker: Fred

Brazil striker Fred
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Striker: Fred

Brazil striker Fred
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What looks somewhat of a problem position on paper, is not so much so in Scolari's mind. Fred has been the chosen man to lead the Brazil attack under Scolari and that is set to continue at this World Cup. With the ability to hold onto possession and bring the likes of Neymar, Hulk and Oscar into the game, as well as a keen eye for goal, Fred will be the man to do the job that Scolari requires from his lone striker.

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