Captain Thiago Silva knows Brazil are facing ‘fierce competition’ in Qatar, but feels the side are relaxed as they prepare to kick off their bid for World Cup glory with their opening Group G match against Serbia.
The Selecao left for the Gulf state as number one in the FIFA rankings and qualified top of the South American CONMEBOL standings.
It’s been 20 years since Cafu lifted the trophy in Yokohama, with many heartaches since then, including the humiliation on home soil with a cathartic 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany in 2014.
Brazil captain Thiago Silva has insisted his side is ‘ready’ for the World Cup in Qatar
After being beaten by Belgium in the 2018 quarter-finals, Chelsea defender Silva knows there are more expectations to make a further impact in Qatar.
“We know it’s a fierce competition and we had to be ready, first of all for the first game,” said the 38-year-old.
“We all know how important it is to deal with our nerves in the first game and in that sense we are confident that we will put in a good performance.
“We really believe in everything we have done so far and are about to enter the World Cup for the first time in a very favorable position, in the sense that we are healthy in every way.
“What I can tell Brazil’s fans is that you have to believe in us – rest assured, we are ready to put on a great World Cup.
“Obviously the title is still a long way off, but we can dream on and that’s what we do every day.”
Neymar is approaching Pele’s all-time record and needs just two more to level with the Brazilian.
The 38-year-old praised his ‘humble’ team-mate Neymar as an important part of the Brazilian side
Silva feels the 30-year-old, who missed defeat in the 2014 semi-final through injury, can perform on the biggest stage again.
“Now with a different preparation, without any injuries and without worries, we see a better Neymar,” said Silva.
“He is humble and our group will make Neymar feel even more comfortable with us. We will share our responsibilities as players and that will help us move forward.
“Our interaction will help him play better and we should take advantage of this best Neymar mode.”
Brazilian coach Tite retires at the end of the tournament in what will be his second World Cup campaign.
The Seleção head coach Tite will step down at the end of the tournament
The 61-year-old said: ‘Not only do we have pressure, but we will benefit from it because dreaming is part of our lives.
“We dream of being the winner and if we can’t be the winner then we will do our best.
“We have hope, but we are also aware that there are very good teams (here) that play at the same level as Brazil.”
Serbian coach Dragan Stojkovic is confident his side will hold its own against a star-studded Brazilian squad.
“Brazil is a great team, one of the best in the world,” he said. “It’s for me, I think, a golden generation of players right now, and obviously it’s going to be an extremely difficult game.
Serbian boss Dragan Stojkovic called the Brazil side a ‘golden generation’ ahead of their clash
“But as a team we have to be very focused on our own way of playing football.
“We are not afraid, no team in the world scares me – not even Brazil, because we don’t have to be afraid of anyone.”
Stojkovic remains hopeful about the fitness of striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has missed Fulham’s last few Premier League matches with a foot problem.
“He’s been working with the team for the past four or five days,” said Stojkovic. “The good news is that he doesn’t feel the pain in the area where he sustained the injury.”
The Serb said that Juventus full-back Filip Kostic had doubts about a muscle problem.