It will be a younger squad wearing Brazilian colors at this year’s tourney, with limited international experience compared to rival European powerhouses. However, Brazil has enjoyed some recent international success, capturing the 2013 Confederations Cup in convincing fashion, going undefeated in the tournament while outscoring their opponents by a combined 17-3 in six matches.
Brazil, currently No. 4 in FIFA’s World Rankings, have continued their winning ways since their Confederations Cup victory. After dropping a 1-0 decision to Switzerland in their first friendly following the tourney, Brazil have won seven straight.
That streak includes wins over Portugal and Chile, squads with World Cup title aspirations, and Australia, South Korea and Honduras, all of which have qualified for World Cup 2014.
The youthful Brazilians are expected to finish atop Group A, which also features Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon. Brazil are pegged as heavy 2/9 favorites to win Group A. Playing on home turf before heavily partisan crowds gives Brazil an obvious and huge advantage.
Mexico (15/2 to win Group A) has enjoyed their fair share of luck against Brazil and may represent the toughest competition the Brazilian side will face during Group Stage play.
The Brazilians eliminated Mexico from the 2013 Confederations Cup with a 2-0 Group Stage win. However, the Mexicans have been victorious in three of their last six matches against Brazil, with two of those wins coming in international tournaments.
The Brazilian attack will be led by forward Neymar. The Barcelona star appears poised to establish himself as an international star on the game’s biggest stage. In addition to being named the 2011 South American Footballer of the Year at the tender age of 19, Neymar also was named Best Player after Brazil’s Confederations Cup win, taking home the Golden Ball trophy.
Neymar’s goal-scoring numbers pale in comparison to his Barcelona teammate and Argentine rival Lionel Messi, who has scored 28 times in La Liga action this season.
That has not prevented the 22-year-old from being pegged as a favorite to score the most goals at Brazil 2014. With odds of 10/1, Neymar trails only Messi, who sits at 15/2 in World Cup props wagering.