WORLD CUP : Team profile – Brazil (group f)

The problems experienced in qualifying for Korea/Japan 2002 soon became a distant memory for mighty Brazil as they powered to their fifth FIFA World Cup triumph. The Selecao followed that up with success in the 2004 Copa America and the following summer’s FIFA Confederations Cup and also came out on top in the South American qualifying group for Germany 2006. Having seemingly banished the ghosts of 2001 for good, the Brazilians are rightly installed as favourites for every tournament in which they take part. The five-goal drubbing they meted out to Chile to qualify for Germany only served to heighten expectations among their adoring fans, and no wonder.

Carlos Alberto Parreira’s star-studded squad, an exciting blend of raw talent and valuable experience, is the envy of world football. Just to complete the picture, Brazil are the only team on planet football to have qualified for every single FIFA World Cup.

Brazil amassed some very impressive statistics in qualifying. In claiming top place in the group they scored more goals than any of their rivals (35), remained unbeaten at home, and also boasted the group’s top scorer Ronaldo, with ten goals.

The biggest blemish during their campaign was a defeat against Argentina in Buenos Aires. Brazil finished with 34 points – four more than they picked up last time around – nine wins, seven draws and two defeats.

As if the riches of the present were not enough, Brazil also have the weight of history on their side. With appearances in the last three finals and five world titles to their name, the Selecao are the most successful team in the competition’s history. It took Brazil some time to make their mark on the tournament, however. Back in 1950, they hosted the World Cup supremely confident of celebrating the title at the awe-inspiring Maracana Stadium but failed to count on Obdulio Varela’s indomitable Uruguay side snatching victory in the decisive game.

WC participations: 17 (1930, 1934, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002)

WC honours: 5-time winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002), 2-time FIFA World Cup runners-up (1950, 1998), twice finished in 3rd place (1938, 1978)

Continental Titles: Copa America 7 times (1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1993, 1997, 1999), Pan American Cup 4 times (1963, 1975 with Mexico, 1979, 1987)

Slogan: Vehicle monitored by 180 million Brazilian hearts