The hosts and pre-tournament have quality all over the pitch
Time Out staff
The team: As the host nation and five-time winners of the FIFA World Cup, Brazil enter the tournament under immense pressure to add crown number six. Expectations will undoubtedly be high on home soil, but with stars such as Neymar, Hulk, Oscar and Willian, there’s every reason to believe this current crop of players can win a first title since 2002. Having been spared the rigours of the tough South American qualifying campaign, Brazil filled their spare time with high-profile friendlies against the likes of Italy, Uruguay, Spain and England. Results-wise, they’ve looked pretty solid, and head into the tournament with good momentum.
The coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari
In charge for the second time, Luiz Felipe Scolari will be hoping to repeat his title-winning feat from 2002. The coach is undoubtedly experienced and knows exactly what it takes to win a World Cup. Not many other managers at the tournament can say the same.
Key player: Neymar
He may have endured a slightly hit-and-miss debut season at Barcelona, but Neymar, on his day, has the quality to put any team to the sword. With so many skilful players around him, he’s sure to get plenty of chances, and he has to be one of the favourites for the Golden Boot.
World ranking: 4 World Cup appearances: 19 Previous best: Winners in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002 Qualification: Automatic (host nation) Form (friendlies): WWLWWWWWWW Fixtures: June 13 vs. Croatia; June 17 vs. Mexico; June 24 vs. Cameroon