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Coach Mano Menezes has been in charge for just under a year, and has quietly gone about restructuring a team that had become stagnant and cautious under predecessor Dunga. The omission of players such as Marcelo and Kaka raised some eyebrows, but there is enough talent in this squad, so much so that anything less than a place in the final would be viewed as failure.
The 19-year-old will be the star attraction in this Brazil side. The magic he has already shown at Santos and in the South American Under-20 Championship has put him in the eyes of massive European clubs such as Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid. He is a lightning-quick forward, astute and with unreal ability going forward.
Great things are expected from the Selecao's new gem, and exotic haircut in tow he is ready to make a huge impact on world football. Both Brazil and Santos trust that he can one day become the best in the world just like Pele, and start his own personal duel with Argentine phenomenon Lionel Messi.
COPA AMERICA HISTORY
- Best position: Champions (1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2007)
- Biggest victory: 10-1 vs Bolivia, Copa America 1949
- Biggest defeat: 4-0 vs Chile, Copa America 1987
HOW THEY PLAY
After the unhappy tenure of Dunga, Menezes is trying to respect Brazil's history and reimpose the Jogo Bonito philosophy on his charges. Thanks to the riches of talent he possesses in the squad, the team are a delight to watch on the ball. The Selecao's objective is to dominate proceedings, with a potent attack seeing plenty of the ball.
Opening the pitch up is crucial in the Brazilian game-plan, which as always makes the full-backs key attacking weapons. Maicon and Dani Alves will look to fulfil the role made famous in previous generations by Cafu and Roberto Carlos, and become the keys to open the rival defence. Lucio and David Luiz meanwhile inject a defensive solidity to a position which has often been a weakness in the team, and this will allow the rest of the squad to push forward looking for goals.
'O Rei' is the idol of Brazilian football and took the Selecao and Santos to glory, as well as leaving an indelible impact on the world of football as a whole. He played in four World Cups, lifting the trophy on three occasions (1958, 62 & 70).
This man provokes a fierce debate between Brazilians and Argentines: Who is the best player in history? This discussion has even reached its two protagonists, who have crossed each other countless times in the media.
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