Coach:Luiz Felipe Scolari
Star players:Thiago Silva (PSG); Dani Alves (Barcelona); Oscar (Chelsea); Lucas (PSG); Neymar (Barcelona)
Recent form:D, D, W
Picking a shortlist of star players from Brazil’s squad of 23 players for the Confederations Cup is a fool’s task. All of their players are stars, some of them just shine brighter than others.
The Selecao are arguably the most successful team in the history of world football.
They are the only team to have qualified for every single World Cup, and have won that competition a record five times.
But despite their history, and despite their collection of superstar players that grace top teams in top leagues around the world, the mighty Brazil have fallen.
Fifa in their ‘wisdom’ say Brazil are at their lowest ebb, implausibly rating them the 22nd best team on the planet. And so Brazil, as hosts of the Confederations Cup and the World Cup next year, have a major point to prove.
But never before has a host nation been under so much pressure to win an international tournament. In Brazil, there is not hope that the Selecao will win. There is expectation.
For that reason, World Cup winning coach ‘Big Phil’ Scolari was brought in to replace dour, misfiring Mano Menezes. And after a series of friendly draws, he is finally beginning to whip Brazil into shape.
They recently beat improving France 3-0, and the signs are there that Brazil’s generally young squad may have what it takes to win the World Cup next year, if not the Confed Cup beforehand.
Rising stars like lightning fast winger Lucas Moura, cultured playmaker Oscar, and especially much-hyped junking trickster Neymar- who has just signed for Barcelona- make Brazil exciting to watch. Their potential is clearly frightening.
Classy ‘keeper Julio Cesar, PSG skipper Thiago Silva, cavalier Chelsea defender David Luiz, and Spain-based wing-backs Marcelo and Dani Alves provide strength and experience at the back.
If all their eye-catching elements click, Brazil could be unstoppable, especially on their home soil.
There is simply no way that they will not progress from Group A, and it will be considered a disaster if they do not reach at least the final of the Confederations Cup.
The competition may have come a little too soon for Big Phil’s new-look Brazil to make good on their tantalising promise. But looking at their line-up, a new era of Samba success could be percolating, with the Confed Cup an experimental stepping stone to an unprecedented sixth World Cup for the Selecao.