WORLD CUP HISTORY: No team in world soccer walks with the swagger of the Samba Boys. Even a weak Brazil is a strong Brazil. With five World Cups to their name, no nation has enjoyed the success Brazil has. They’ve been so good, FIFA gave the country the old trophy to keep. They’re the only team to play in every World Cup tournament, and this will be their 19th straight appearance. In all, Brazil have 64 wins, 14 draws and 14 losses at the World Cup.
QUALIFICATION: Despite a first place finish in South American qualifying, Brazil was heavily criticized at home. Under coach Dunga, the team has shown less of their trademark flair. Difficulties scoring did raise some eyebrows, but the team has found its form of late. That fact coupled with glory at last year’s Confederations Cup have silenced the critics for now.
KEY PLAYER: Kaka. In a Brazil side that lacks the usual attacking verve, Kaka will be an essential component. Coming off a very poor debut season at Real Madrid, the former AC Milan man needs to rediscover the touch that made him at one time considered the best player in the world. Still in his prime, Kaka’s creativity will make for compelling soccer alongside his equally creative teammates.
EXPECTATIONS: The expectation is simple, and that is to win it all. Brazil will need to start well, having been drawn into the group of death with Portugal, Ivory Coast and North Korea. With a solid backline, experienced campaigners, and a coach still needing to prove himself, this side will be the mountain most teams will need to climb to be crowned champs.