THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

wsc328 preview What are the expectations for the team?
For the more fervent, and those who can remember the Maracanazo of 1950, anything less than victory would be catastrophic. Others are less demanding, but with confidence high a final appearance is expected.

Is the coach popular?
Very much so. Luiz Felipe Scolari won a World Cup as Brazil coach in 2002 but there were those who viewed his return two years ago as pure populism. The decision has proved a masterstroke. With his protective, fatherly style, Felipão has galvanised team spirit, instilling a confidence that wasn't there under his predecessor, Mano Menezes. He has shown faith in a core group of players and reaped the benefits in winning last summer's Confederations Cup.

Are there any players who have appeared in TV commercials or other advertising??
You're unlikely to turn on a television in Brazil this summer without seeing one of the national team's players gawping back at you. Daniel Alves, Fred and Marcelo are among those recruited for Adidas campaigns in recent months, but it is no surprise that Neymar is the star attraction. He has previously lent his image to soft drinks, telecoms companies and even an underwear manufacturer, so there will be total market saturation come June.

Is there a Brazilian World Cup song?

The Seleção themselves don't have one, so there is an official World Cup song and anthem (different things, apparently). The former, by Pitbull and featuring Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte, is peppered with the usual platitudes ("Show the world we are one") but lacks a memorable hook. The latter, as yet unreleased, is titled Dar Um Jeito (We Will Find A Way), which at least seems appropriate given Brazil's fraught preparations for the tournament.

Which players are good interviewees and who are the worst?
David Luiz is as gregarious as he looks, while Dante is a friendly, forthcoming character. Oscar is a touch on the shy side but has nothing on Chelsea colleague Willian, whose rarely gets louder than a gentle whisper. He may have something to say, but good luck hearing it.

Are there any players with unusual hobbies or business interests?
I'm not sure if it counts as a hobby, but Fred is well known for being the ultimate paquerador or serial flirt. His taste for the nightlife of Rio is hardly a secret, but his skill appears to be in sweet-talking the city's bachelorettes. A video that went viral last year shows him pull up in his friend's car to a girl on a motorcycle and convince her to give him a kiss.

Will there be any rehearsed goal celebrations?
Not that anyone knows about, although emotional, a cappella renditions of the national anthem are likely to reappear after proving such a roaring success during the Confederations Cup.

What will the media coverage be like?
Games will be shown on numerous channels, including the Brazilian versions of Fox Sports and ESPN. For Seleção matches, most will plump for broadcasting giant Globo, who are likely to wheel out excitable commentator Galvão Bueno. Ronaldo has been known to take up TV punditry duty, although he may be busy representing the suits of the Local Organising Committee and making misguided statements about public spending and protestors. Former Barcelona defender Juliano Belletti is a rising star, having proven himself a thoughtful, measured speaker in the past few months. Other World Cup-winners will be produced at every opportunity.

Will the fans have any favourite songs?
We could see a repeat of a chant used during the Confederations Cup final win over Spain: "Quer jogar? Quer jogar? O Brazil vai ensinar!" (Want to play? Want to play? Let Brazil show you the way!) Jack Lang


This preview was originally published in the World Cup Team Guide that went on sale with WSC 328 on May 8, all information was correct at the time of publication

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