Brazil ? The football powerhouse!
HindustanTimes.com acquaints you with Group F favourite for World Cup. FIFA Rewind : Chile, 1962 World Cup | PicsUpdated: Jun 05, 2006 21:44 IST
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BRAZIL- Odds9/4 (Favourites)
Group F> Australia, Japan, Croatia
Qualification> Winners in South America
World Cup wins> Five times;
How does one face a team that lives, eats and drinks its football, has the passion of the whole world backing it; is mentally pumped and more than willing to beat the opposition at its own game?
The only thing the opposition can do is pray to god and hope it slips up under the weight of expectations.
|Brazil - 1st|
|Japan - 18th|
|Australia - 42nd|
|Croatia - 23rd|
With just days left before the World Cup kicks off, reigning champions Brazil is undoubtedly the team to beat in Germany. It looks so strong and way ahead of the competition that even losing in the finals will be seen as a failure.
The first qualifier from Group F is as good as decided. Ronaldinho, Ronaldo will make sure that happens. The only tussle will be between Australia, Japan and Croatia for the second spot.
Croatia is a strong contender, with three straight finals appearances, including a dream run in 1998 to the semis. Besides, it looks a compact unit and has youth on its side.
Japan will be playing in its third World Cup this year. And even if it does not make it to the second round this time, Coach Zico wiould be hoping to make it memorable by avenging a loss to Croatia in group playoff in 1998.
Australia is qualifying after 32 years in anonymity and would probably turn out to be the punching bag for the rest of its more illustrious partners.
But, all eyes would be on the Samba stars as they take the field on June 14. If its win the coveted trophy this time, it will be their sixth — a huge achievement even for a team of such calibre.
Who to watch:Ronaldinho.His strong personality allied to his dribbling skills and ability to score spectacular goals makehim a crowd pleaser. He's technically superb and has great pace, power and balance.
Who's missing: No major surprises here.
Croatia would be a tough nut to crack for Brazil, simply because of the lack of awareness about its opponent. The only game played was a draw. Don't miss this contest!
Mark your date:Brazil v Croatia, June 14, 0030 IST
Seeing the head-to-head tally, Brazil would be reasonably confident going into its 2nd group match versus Australia. It has nine goals for and only one goal scored against it.
Mark your date:Brazil v Australia, June 18, 2130 IST
Japanwill need a miracle to get a result to comeits way from this clash. Of the seven games played it has not even won a single one against Brazil. This figure will probably remain the same even after June 23.
Mark your date:Brazil v Japan, June 23, 0030 IST
GroupG would bereviewed tomorrow.
First Published: Jun 05, 2006 21:14 IST