Carlos Alberto Parreira: Brazil has the world's best defense

The 71-year-old believes the Selecao boast the finest back line at the World Cup but insists his side must earn its tag as favorite for glory this summer.
Brazil technical director Carlos Alberto Parreira believes the World Cup hosts boast the strongest defense in the tournament as they prepare for next month's opening encounter.

With David Luiz poised to complete a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain for just less than 50 million euro, and with captain Thiago Silva having joined the French champions from Milan for 42m euro in 2012, the Selecao possess the most expensive central-defensive pairing in the competition this summer.

And with Real Madrid's Champions League final goalscorer Marcelo set to link up with the squad shortly, Carlos Alberto is confident that the defensive strength of Luiz Felipe Scolari's side will shine through.

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"He [Marcelo] will get here by lunchtime tomorrow, that is something decided by the player himself," he told reporters Monday. "We trust these players. Just take a look at the team: we have the best and most expensive central defence in the world, Maxwell is here, great players, great strikers."

The 1994 World Cup-winning coach accepts Brazil is the favorite this summer but insists the players must earn the right to be considered the strongest side and has warned of the extensive scouting assessments of their opponents this summer.

"We are not obliged to win, but we are favorites," he said. "At the 2002 World Cup, 90 percent of the people would bet on Argentina or France, who didn’t make it past the group stage. This [favorite tag] isn't a game-changer. You have to get on the pitch and show you're worthy of it.

"We won't be surprised. We have two scouts, and people helping us to know about the other teams. Every team has been studied, not only our group opponents, but a total of 16 teams. You don't have to worry, we won't be surprised in that sense."

Brazil has not hosted international football's greatest tournament since its shock defeat to Uruguay in 1950, and Carlos Alberto insists the current team is determined to make amends for the infamous Maracanazo.

"It's different than anything we've participated in before," he said of this summer's showpiece. "Now we're at home, and we have to try and rescue that identity here.

"We already lost one and don't want to lose another. Definitely, the Selecao will get a lot of love from the fans, they will be our 12th player, as important as they were during the Confederations Cup [in 2013]."

Meanwhile, Scolari's assistant Flavio Murtosa is confident Neymar will be fully fit for the opening clash with Croatia and says the squad is prepared for its assault on the trophy.

"The medical department will determine the state of every player," he said. "Neymar will have full conditions to train with the rest of the team, I believe. The fact that he already played 30 minutes against Atletico Madrid shows that he's recovered already.

"This group knows it's a difficult cup, but they have conditions to win it, and we'll work for that to happen."