Brazil - Team profile
Hosts for the second time, Brazil are the only country to have taken part in every World Cup to date
Brazil’s Neymar during a training session in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janeiro last month. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes / Reuters
Manager: Luis Felipe Scolari
Best finish: Winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002)
World Cup record: Played 104, Won 71, Drawn 16, Lost 17.
Hosts for the second time, Brazil are the only country to have taken part in every World Cup to date ahead of a 20th back on home soil, 64 years after the pain of finishing runner-up to Uruguay in Rio. They have won five since, finished second twice and third twice. It has been 12 years since their last win, in Japan/South Korea and achieved under Scolari, which will no doubt crank up the pressure from an expectant fanbase, but a 3-0 Confederations Cup final win over Spain last year proved they are up to the task.
We reckon Scolari will favour a 4-2-3-1 but with the talent at his disposal he can, and has, experimented with a number of formations. Most, however, generally reflect the fact that he has no talismanic striker, per se, but an accomplished finisher in Fred and a wealth of talent behind him in Oscar, Neymar, Willian, Hulk et al. His full-backs - Dani Alves, Rafinha and Marcelo - will also be key.
All Star - Neymar
Didn’t quite live up to his billing in a debut season at Barca that has been tarnished by the small matter of his old man getting paid millions on the sly by the not-so-squeeky-clean Catalans, but he’s a key player in Brazil’s attack and is capable on his day of making vast swathes of opponents look rather foolish.
County Colours - Kerry
Cute hoors and iffy politicians, but them lads can sure play football.
Pundit’s Corner - Roy Keane
“Ghost of 1950? Give me a break, you’ve got your Oss-carrrs, you’ve got Neyyy-marrrs, just go out and win the bloody thing!”
Strong favourites at around 3/1. Anything that doesn’t end in the lifting of the trophy is failure. Scolari is talking a good game, his side have welcomed the pressure and expectation so far but there are no gimmes at this level and, unlike some, Brazil are almost guaranteed three tough games - Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon - before they even get out of Group A when they could meet one from Spain, Chile or Holland.
Goalkeepers: 1 Jefferson (Botafogo), 12 Julio Cesar (Toronto FC/Can), 22 Victor (AtleticoMineiro).
Defenders: 2 Dani Alves (Barcelona/Esp), 3 Thiago Silva (Paris St Germain/Fra), 4 David Luiz (Paris St Germain/Fra), 6 Marcelo (Real Madrid/Esp), 13 Dante (Bayern Munich/Ger), 14 Maxwell (Paris St Germain, Fra), 15 Henrique (Napoli/Ita); 23 Maicon (Inter Milan, Ita).
Midfielders: 5 Fernandinho (Manchester City/Eng), 8 Paulinho (Tottenham/Eng), 11 Oscar (Chelsea/Eng), 16 Ramires (Chelsea/Eng), 17 Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg/Ger), 18 Hernanes (Inter Milan/Ita), 19 Willian (Chelsea/Eng).
Forwards: 7 Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg/Rus), 9 Fred (Fluminense), 10 Neymar (Barcelona/Esp), 20 Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk/Ukr), 21 Jo (Atletico Mineiro).
BRAZIL (v Croatia): 12 Julio Cesar; 2 Dani Alves, 3 Thiago Silva, 4 David Luiz, 6 Marcelo; 8 Paulinho (18 Hernanes, 63 mins), 17 Luiz Gustavo (yc); 11 Oscar, 10 Neymar (yc) (16 Ramires, 88 mins), 7 Hulk (20 Bernard, 68 mins); 9 Fred.
BRAZIL (v Mexico): 12 Julio Cesar; 2 Dani Alves, 3 Thiago Silva (yc), 4 David Luiz, 6 Marcelo; 8 Paulinho, 17 Luiz Gustavo; 16 Ramires (yc) (20 Bernard, half-time) 11 Oscar (Willian, 84 mins), 10 Neymar; 9 Fred (21 Jo, 68 mins).
BRAZIL (v Cameroon): 12 Julio Cesar; 2 Dani Alves, 3 Thiago Silva, 4 David Luiz, 6 Marcelo; 8 Paulinho (5 Fernandinho, half-time), 17 Luiz Gustavo; 11 Oscar; 7 Hulk (16 Ramires, 63 mins), 10 Neymar (Willian, 71 mins); 9 Fred.
BRAZIL (v Chile): 12 Julio Cesar; 2 Dani Alves (yc), 3 Thiago Silva, 4 David Luiz, 6 Marcelo; 5 Fernandinho (16 Ramires, 72 mins), 17 Luiz Gustavo (yc); 11 Oscar (19 Willian, 106 mins), 7 Hulk (yc), 10 Neymar; 9 Fred (21 Jo (yc), 64 mins).
Luis Gustavo missed the quarter-final against Colombia after picking up a second yellow card in the tournament.
BRAZIL (v Colombia): 12 Julio Cesar (yc); 23 Maicon, 3 Thiago Silva (yc), 4 David Luiz, 6 Marcelo; 5 Fernandinho, 8 Paulinho (18 Hernanes, 86 mins); 7 Hulk (16 Ramires, 88 mins), 11 Oscar, 10 Neymar (15 Henrique, 88 mins); 9 Fred.
Thiago Silva missed the semi-final against Germany after picking up a second yellow card.
Neymar was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a broken vertabra.
BRAZIL (v Germany): 12 Julio Cesar; 23 Maicon, 4 David Luiz, 13 Dante (yc), 6 Marcelo; 5 Fernandinho (8 Paulinho, half-time), 17 Luiz Gustavo; 7 Hulk (16 Ramires, half-time), 11 Oscar, 20 Bernard; 9 Fred (19 Willian, 69 mins).
BRAZIL (v Netherlands): 12-Julio Cesar; 23-Maicon, 3-Thiago Silva, 14-Maxwell, 4-David Luiz; 17-Luiz Gustavo (Fernandinho 46'), 8-Paulinho (Hernanes 57'), 11-Oscar, 16-Ramires (Hulk 73'), 19-Willian; 21-Jo