Do we have to say it? England invented it, Brazil perfected it, or, rather, ran away with it and changed the face of football forever. With five championships to their name, anything less than total victory for Brazil would result in national shame. Breezing through the early stages, led by a champion coach and with star players dripping from the ranks, success for Brazil isn’t guaranteed, but they’re still odds on favourites.
Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri
Better known as Dunga, Brazil’s coach is no stranger to the high drama of the team’s on-pitch feats. He has played for his country at three FIFA World Cups, lifting the trophy once. He has followed up his playing career with a similarly impressive record as a coach: wins in the 2007 Copa America, the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and a strong showing in the World Cup qualifiers suggest he’s the best man to add an unprecedented sixth World Cup to Brazil’s burgeoning collection.
Player to watch
Fabiano helped Brazil triumph against USA in the qualifiers with a spectacular brace of goals. He’ll play a pivotal role for his country – not to mention be a likely source of excitement for neutrals – especially in Group G, which pits Brazil against South Korea, Côte d’Ivoire and Portugal.
We’re on the ball
World Cup appearances: 19
Previous best: Winners, 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 & 2002
Odds of winning: 5/1
Strange but true: Brazil are the only team to have appeared in every single World Cup
Fixtures: Korea DPR, June 15, 10.30pm, Johannesburg Côte d’Ivoire, June 20, 10.30pm, Johannesburg Portugal, June 25, 6pm, Durban