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2014 FIFA World Cup: Brazil tops punters' list

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Update: 2:38PM WITH just a month remaining for the FIFA World Cup, The Fiji Times will publish stories in the build-up to the worlds most popular sport. Sports journalist Rashneel Kumar gives his insight on the players and teams that will be participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup which will be held in Brazil from June 12 to July 13.

WHEN it comes to FIFA World Cup, Brazil cannot be ignored.

Given its impressive winning record in the tournament played every four years, the Brazilians have always emerged favourites.

This year is no different.

With the country also hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil is once again topping the punters' list.

The Luiz Felipe Scolari-coached side stands a good chance of delivering the glory on home soil.  

Brazil is the most successful national team in the FIFA World Cup, having won the title in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002.

Scolari named 17 world cup rookies but they do not lack experience in top level European competition.

Veteran goalkeeper Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Maicon, Thiago Silva, Ramires and Fred are players with world cup experience.

Most of these players play in the defence.

Led by goalkeeper Cesar, who featured in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was the third choice stopper in the 2006 world cup, Brazilian defence also has the likes of Alves, Maicon and Silva, who played in the 2010 tournament.

In the midfield, Ramires is the only player with the world cup experience having played in 2010 while in attack, Fred featured in the 2006 world cup.

Given Scolaris basic 4-3-3 formation, there will be a heavy reliance on the world cup rookies.

Players like Neymar, Willian, Oscar, Hulk, David Luiz, Paulinho and Hernanes have proven to be a hit in their respective positions in European football competition.

They have become world-class players for their respective clubs but it all depends on how they transit their impressive record into the worlds biggest showpiece.

Neymar is hailed the player to watch and the Barcelona star has all the credentials to make a glittering debut in the world cup.

It will also be exciting to watch the Chelsea trio Oscar, Willian and Ramires and how Scolari uses them in the midfield play.

Brazils group, which has Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon, doesnt seem to pose any threat to the sides campaign and history favours the hosts too to advance into the next stage of the competition.


Brazil 23-member squad

Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC, on loan from QPR), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Atletico Mineiro)

Defenders: Dani Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (Roma), David Luiz (Chelsea), Thiago Silva (PSG), Dante (Bayern Munich), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Henrique (Napoli), Maxwell (PSG).

Midfield: Oscar (Chelsea), Fernandinho (Man City), Willian (Chelsea), Paulinho (Spurs), Ramires (Chelsea), Luis Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Hernanes (Inter Milan).

Attackers: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Neymar (Barcelona), Fred (Fluminense), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg), Jo (Atletico Mineiro).

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