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Confederations Cup Preview: Brazil

The reigning Confederations Cup holders are the overwhelming favourites to defend their title from four years ago when they trounced Argentina 4-1 in the final in Frankfurt. Brazil are the most successful team in Confederations Cup history, with two title triumphs and one runners-up medal.  

Although it has taken some time, Brazil have finally reached their full potential under Carlos Dunga, having demonstrated this in their comfortable 2-0 victory over world champions Italy in a recent friendly international at the Emirates.

The tournament will be a great opportunity for Brazil to show to the world that they are still a force to be reckoned with, and that they are capable of winning what would be their sixth World Cup in South Africa next year.

Brazil have been drawn in Group B, along with Italy, Egypt and the United States. It is an extremely tricky group, but although Brazil are expected to progress they will have to be in top form in order to do so. The clash with Italy promises to be a blockbuster, not only because of the history between both sides, but because the Italians will be desperate to avenge their recent defeat to the Brazilians.  

As has been the case in recent tournaments, such as the Copa America, Brazil are likely to be without several of their star players. Players like Kaka and Ronaldinho could be rested to concentrate on the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. With such little time before the next World Cup, it would be essential for Brazil to turn out with a competitive squad.

How they got here: 2007 Copa America Champions

Brazil thrashed arch-rivals Argentina 3-0 in the 2007 Copa America final, to claim the title for the eighth time. They won the match with goals from Julio Baptista, an own goal from Roberto Ayala, and another from Daniel Alves. After losing their first group match against Mexico, the Brazilians proved their superiority with a number of fine performances.

Coach: Carlos Dunga

The 1994 World Cup winning captain had been under fire for his team’s poor form in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, but convincing victories over Portugal and Italy have cemented his position, and there is considerably more confidence in him and his squad these days.

The Team


No matter from which angle you look at them, Brazil are loaded with quality. The bulk of their squad members play for Europe’s top clubs, and this suggests that they will be very difficult to beat.  

Their squad contains a mixture of youth and experience, and this combination is likely to make the difference, as Brazil intend to continue to improve looking ahead to the World Cup in South Africa.

Dunga has tested several different players and strategies since being appointed the coach of Brazil in 2006, and the Confederations Cup will be a good opportunity to give some emerging prospects a chance to shine.

Players like Walter and Douglas Costa, who starred in Brazil’s U-20 South American Championship title triumph earlier in the month, could be given an opportunity, but this depends on the availability of Brazil’s more established superstars.

As is traditionally the case with the Brazilians, their forte is their lethal attack. With the likes of Kaka, Luis Fabiano and Robinho in their offence there will be no shortage of goals.  

But at the back they are also very strong, and this is why they have conceded few goals in recent outings. Their goal is in safe hands with Internazionale's goalkeeper Julio Cesar, while Maicon, Marcelo, Juan and Lucio make for a very solid defence.

In recent matches Dunga has tested less renowned players like Felipe Melo, Thiago Silva, Alex and Miranda in different areas of the field, and there could well be many more surprises. With the abundance of talent that Dunga has at his disposal, he can afford to mix and match his squad, until he finds the ideal blend.

Some players who are expected to impress in the tournament include Robinho, Elano, Maicon, Alexandre Pato, and of course Kaka.

On paper Brazil are the strongest squad in the competition, but they will have to be wary of the threat possessed by teams like Italy, Spain, and perhaps even hosts South Africa, who will be hoping to cause some major upsets on home soil.

Rising Star: Alexandre Pato


At only 19, Pato has already established himself as one of the most exciting strikers in Europe. His performances with AC Milan have been very impressive, and he is likely to receive more playing time with the Brazilian national team in the future. The Confederations Cup could be his opportunity to demonstrate that he is worthy of a World Cup place in South Africa.

Confederations Cup History

1997 – Winners

1999 – Runners-Up

2001 – Fourth Place

2005 – Winners

Prospects

Anything less than the title will be considered as failure for the demanding Brazilians. They have the necessary firepower to win a record third Confederations Cup, but will have to be on top of their game in order to get the better of Spain and Italy, in particular. As is the case each time they enter a tournament, Brazil are expected to win it.

Gregory Sica, Goal.com