Brazil

Quick facts

Group: A (JapanMexicoItaly)

FIFA ranking: 22

Confederation: CONMEBOL

Head coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari

Best result: Champion in 1997, 2005, 2009

Qualification method: 2014 FIFA World Cup host

First-round schedule: Japan (June 15 @ 3 p.m. ET), Mexico (June 19 @ 3 p.m. ET), Italy (June 22 @ 3 p.m. ET)

Storylines

  • New generation, same game. With the absence of veterans like Ronaldinho and Kaka, Brazil is now in the hands of a new group eager to show the home crowd their talent and coordination on the field. An aggressive squad where every player — including defenders — represents a constant threat in attack, the Canarinha is able to cruise by rivals with speed, organized playmaking and aerial power. Led from the back by strong centre-back Thiago Silva, and with dangerous strikers like Hulk and skilled dribbler Neymar in offence, this team is ready to take its third straight Confederations Cup.
  • Felipao is back. Winner of the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Brazil, Luiz Felipe Scolari is no stranger to success. His return as head coach gives Brazilians a sense of relief and provides confidence after a disappointing two-year period with Mario Menezes that dropped the most successful national team in history to the 22nd spot in the FIFA rankings. However, Scolari will need to prove he’s still able to manage a favourite with very little to gain and everything to lose in a tournament that serves as a test run for the 2014 World Cup. A second-place finish will be considered a failure.
  • Home advantage or disadvantage? The commodity of playing on home soil, with millions of supporters behind the host nation, is one of the most underrated advantages in the world of sports. A crowd can shift momentum and provide extra energy during intense situations or important matches. The Brazilians’ passion for soccer will definitely fuel the team, but needs to be handled with extreme caution as that love could turn into a double-edged sword after a couple of negative results, adding more pressure to an already stressed system and ultimately ending in disappointment. 

Key player

A genius with the ball and a crowd favourite, Neymar will try to consolidate himself as one of the best in the world as he leads the Brazilian attack.

Considered by many among the elite of soccer, but often criticized by others for an immature and selfish style of play, the budding Barcelona star brings his dazzling dribbling skills to a tournament that will test his dedication on and off the field.

It’s only a matter of time before the 21-year-old takes over the international stage, and the Confederations Cup could be his first step towards greatness with the legendary Verde-Amarela.

Squad

  • Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (QPR-ENG), Diego Cavalieri (Fluminense-BRA), Jefferson (Botafogo-BRA)
  • Defenders: David Luiz (Chelsea-ENG), Thiago Silva (PSG-FRA), Rever (Atletico Mineiro-BRA), Dante (Bayern Munich-GER), Marcelo (Real Madrid-SPA), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid-SPA) Daniel Alves (Barcelona-SPA), Jean (Fluminense-BRA)
  • Midfielders: Paulinho (Corinthians-BRA), Fernando (Gremio-BRA), Luiz Gustavo (Bayern Munich-GER), Oscar (Chelsea-ENG), Hernanes (Lazio-ITA), Jadson (Sao Paulo-BRA)
  • Forwards: Bernard (Atletico Mineiro-BRA), Lucas (PSG-FRA), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg-RUS), Jo (Internacional-BRA), Fred (Fluminense-BRA), Neymar (Barcelona-SPA)