World-Cup hungry Brazil believe in sixth star
COSTA DO SAUIPE: Fortified by home advantage, Brazil are bursting to set out in pursuit of their sixth World Cup and coach Luiz Felipe Scolari says he has a good idea of his starting XI.
Scolari already has the kudos which comes from having coached the Selecao to their fifth crown in Japan in 2002, as well as a Confederations Cup final win over world champions Spain six months ago.
The coach says his current vintage is maturing nicely and will rise to the challenge.
“I haven’t as yet defined the 23-man squad and am still observing players – but this is my team,” said Scolari.
“I think we have a great chance. We shall be competing at home and we have a great team, excellent players and have our home fans behind us.”
Scolari, who took over the reins for a second time 12 months ago, does not have to name his squad until May 7 – they will play a final tune-up on March 5 against South Africa but will know their opening phase opponents after the December 6 draw at Costa de Sauipe.
In 19 matches in charge, his record this time around reads 13 victories, four draws and just two losses.
Looking forward to the draw, Scolari said that “we will be ready from the first moment to go up against whoever we must to reach the final”.
Unconvincing Spain prepare for title defence
Spain will rightly take their place among the top eight seeded sides for Friday’s World Cup draw, having won an unprecedented three consecutive major tournaments.
However, in contrast to the build up to their recent triumphs, doubts surround the number one ranked side in the world’s chances of retaining the trophy they won for the first time in South Africa three-and-a-half years ago.
Whilst a series of unconvincing friendly results is nothing new during Vicente del Bosque’s five-year spell in charge, it is La Roja’s lacklustre performances in a number of recent competitive games that have caused concern. But it would be brave to back against a side still replete with world class players, a manager experienced in winning on the big stage and a squad tinged with just enough youth still waiting for their chance to shine.
World Cup on track despite stadium setback: FIFA
Global football chief Sepp Blatter insisted preparations for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil were on track Tuesday despite construction delays and a deadly accident which mean three stadiums will miss an end-of-year deadline to be ready.
Governing body Fifa revealed three of the tournament’s 12 venues would not be able to meet the December 31 deadline for completion.
Fifa President Blatter however played down the significance of the construction delays, saying he was confident Brazil would be successful hosts of their first World Cup since 1950.
“We have just received a report,” said Blatter. “There are some small delays in construction. But so small that with one exception [Sao Paulo] we can say everything is ready.”
کہاں اتنی سزائیں تھیں بھلا اس زندگانی میں
ہزاروں گھر ہوئے روشن جو میرا دل جلا محسنؔ