Brazil Confederations Cup 2013 Roster: Latest Analysis and Predictions
The FIFA Confederations Cup gets underway in just 11 days time, and the often overlooked tournament is attracting major attention.
This is an event which means so much to host nation Brazil that it has taken on much-increased importance.
Brazil must prove to the world that they can host a well-organised event ahead of next summer's World Cup, that much is certain. However, it is also massively important to the hosts that their side is able to improve upon recent performances and offer a threat at both competitions.
Over the next few slides we will look at Brazil's roster for the competition, before looking at the significance of the event to the Brazilian side.
The following squad was selected by head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari for the 2013 Confederations Cup:
Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Jean (Fluminense), Filipe Luis (Atlético de Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid), David Luiz (Chelsea), Rever (Atlético Mineiro), Dante (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain)
The best-case scenario for Brazil would, of course, be to win the Confederations Cup once more, retaining their title from the 2009 edition.
However, given current form, that would appear to be a highly unlikely outcome.
In reality, any progress once past the group stage would be a massive achievement. Brazil have a difficult group, and then would have the major possibility of facing reigning World champions Spain in the semifinals.
Given the size of that potential task, a place in the semifinal would be a reasonable return for Scolari's side. Get to the final, and he will be hailed as a hero. However, Brazil doesn't deal well with losing finals.
Some goals at a major tournament for the squad's young forwards would also be welcomed.
Any sequence of events that sees Brazil exit the competition prior to the semifinal stage will quite simply be viewed as a disaster.
In a tricky group with Italy, Mexico and Japan, that progression is far from assured.
With the Japanese, nominally the easiest of the three opponents, set to be the side's first opponents, Scolari's men must ensure that they hit the ground running. A slow start could cost them dear.
Should the side exit in the first round, then all planning ahead of next year would go out the window. Scolari would face immense pressure to resign in the media, and there would be scapegoats among the players.
What would once have been thought of as unthinkable, though, is now a very realistic possibility.
What It Means for 2014 World Cup
As eluded to in the previous slide, performance at the Confederations Cup this summer could have a very real bearing on the 2014 World Cup for the Brazilian setup.
A good performance would see the pressure that surrounds the camp temporarily lifted. Scolari would be trusted by the nation, and simply allowed to get on with his job over the next 12 months.
On the other hand, a poor showing would be disastrous for Scolari and his well-laid plans. Certain players would be sacrificed, and Scolari's position itself could come under threat. The media are no doubt already sharpening their claws in anticipation.
Having struggled against football's leading nations for some time now, Brazil could desperately use a couple of good results to go their way.
At the moment, the selecao is a side playing without belief and without the knowledge of how good they potentially could be.
Confederations Cup Prediction
Brazil's hopes at the Confederations Cup hinge on their results against Japan and Mexico. With Italy favourites to progress to the latter stages, it will be results between the other three nations that will likely prove decisive.
Drop points against Japan in their opening game and Brazil will be in big trouble. However, there would still be chance to rescue progression with a win over Mexico. That, though, will be easier said than done.
On the bright side, Brazil do have the potential to shock. If some results should go their way and they should reach the semifinals, they will be a difficult opponent with the passionate support of their home crowd behind them.
Given the fairly even standard of many sides involved, it is a difficult prediction to make. Most likely, though, Brazil will either fall at the semifinal stage, or finish third in their group. The line between success and failure is very fine indeed.