Source Pravda.Ru

Brazil is the team to beat again

It's the same old story for Brazil heading into next year's World Cup finals: Everyone is aiming for the five-time champions. The Brazilians again are favored to win soccer's biggest prize in Germany, just as they were four years ago in South Korea and Japan, and practically every time before that. No matter who the coach is or which players he's coaching, Brazil always is looking down at the rest of the soccer community when it's World Cup time.

In addition to being the defending champion and ranked No. 1 by FIFA, Brazil is coming off one of its most successful seasons. The team won Copa America and the Confederations Cup, and finished first in the South American World Cup qualifying group.

Brazil will be led by European and world player of the year Ronaldinho, who will be supported by all-stars Kaka, Ronaldo, Adriano, Cafu and Roberto Carlos. All are leading contenders for this year's FIFA player of the year award, which will be announced later this month.

Brazil is so deep that standouts such as Real Madrid's Robinho and Lyon's Juninho will have to fight hard for a spot in the lineup. Some say Brazil's second stringers could contend for the title. With limited space on the national team, some players have been forced to look to other nations to try to make it to the World Cup.

One of Portugal's top stars, Deco, was born in Brazil and grew up playing locally before adopting Portuguese citizenship. He said he made the move after realizing he would not have a chance to play on Brazil's national team.

In last year's Confederations Cup, three other teams had Brazil-born players: Mexico had Antonio Naelson, Japan had Alessandro Santos, and Tunisia had Silva dos Santos and Jose Clayton. Still, it seems there's never a shortage of talent back home.

Every year, several Brazilian players are lured by multimillion dollar offers from European teams. Local clubs are forced to go looking for replacements, facilitating the discovery of new wonders. Some of Brazil's dominance in international soccer also can be traced to its youngsters, who breathe soccer almost from the time they're born. The nation has won three Under-17 world titles, and four Under-20 championships, reports the AP. N.U.

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