Soccer  

Brazil pick as World Cup favourites means nothing

It’s one thing for Brazil to be favourites to win the World Cup but something else to do it, according to national team forward Rodrygo.

The Seleccao haven’t lost a game since their Copa America final defeat to Argentina in 2021 and go into the World Cup boasting one of the strongest national teams in the world. However, Rodrygo said the team still must prove it’s the best when it counts.

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“We know that we have a great national team, that we are among the favourites,” Real Madrid’s Rodrygo said. “But there are also other very good teams as well.

“It’s no use saying we are favourites and then arriving on the pitch and not showing it. We know that everyone was in good form with their clubs and that’s why they’re here. Many good players were left out.”

Brazil have won the World Cup a record five times, their last in 2002, but Rodrygo’s teammate Marquinhos echoed his countryman’s sentiments that talent alone wouldn’t be enough for them to win a sixth trophy.

“If we think we are favourites, that we are the best, we will not go forward,” Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos said. “We’ve seen how things are in this competition, which is very difficult. All the teams are ready and very balanced, they can make life difficult, that’s the [World] Cup.

“It’s no use coming here and talking about the future. We have to get through the first phase first. It will be three very difficult games. Many players that are here have had the experience of playing before in a World Cup with the same staff.”

Brazil begin the World Cup against Serbia on Nov. 24 and Marquinhos has reassured his countrymen that he will be ready despite picking up a muscular problem earlier this month that saw him sit out PSG’s 5-1 win over Auxerre on Nov. 11.

Marquinhos was unable to train with the Brazil squad earlier this week in Turin, but did complete Thursday’s training session with the team, much to his relief.

“It was just a discomfort that I felt in the last games with Paris, it was bothering me in training,” he said. “It was decided with the staff ahead of the World Cup that I would rest as a precaution.

“Today I’ve done the full training, I’m very happy, there’s one week for the debut. We still have days to work. I’m going to work hard to be 100 percent.”

Brazil will also take on Switzerland and Cameroon in Group G.