With less than a year until the big dance, the time has come to soak in all the pre-tournament talk.
24 of the 32 spots have been filled, with another three pretty much a guarantee heading into the second leg of playoff rounds.
As the tournament draws nearer, the hosts are getting a bit confident, and Brazil’s manager Luiz Felipe Scolari issued the first guarantee of the 2014 World Cup buildup after smoking Honduras in a friendly.
”I wouldn’t accept to coach Brazil if I didn’t think I could win the World Cup,” Scolari said. ”I took the job because I’m 100 percent sure that I will win the World Cup with Brazil. Brazil will be the champion.”
Yikes. Better not lose. With defending champions Spain showing no signs of slowing down, Germany firing on all cylinders, up-and-coming youngsters dotting a star-studded Belgium, and plenty of other contenders, Brazil will have no shortage of competition to take home the crown in there own country.
However, the 5-0 thumping of Honduras in Miami Saturday understandably has Scolari fired up about his team.
‘Now we have a clear view about our team,” the 65-year-old said. ”Everything is in place already.”
‘This team is much younger team, it lacks the experience of that 2002 squad,” he added. ”This group has a different dynamic and this type of dynamic is needed in football today.”
Those youngsters, led by Neymar, will need to gain experience fast. Neymar is doing just that, filling in for four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi at the front of Barcelona’s attack while the best in the world is out with injury.
It’s a good thing Scolari believes his squad is nearly ready, because the Brazilian national team has just one more match on the schedule before the manager names his World Cup squad.