Brazilians fearing France as World Cup draw looms

Old traumas and the brilliant generation led by Arsenal's Mesut Ozil are all Brazilians want to avoid during next year's World Cup.

France are the only side with a recent history of causing Brazilian heartache who could face the Samba Boys in the group stage, but Friday's draw could also put Uruguay and Germany in a position to face the hosts in the quarter-finals.

"We lost to France in 1986 and in 1998. We lost to Uruguay at home in 1950. And Germany looks pretty strong. I hope someone else succeeds in taking them out," says Fernando Souza, a 56-year-old businessman from Salvador.

"We already showed we can beat the Spanish. Argentina always loses in Brazil. But I'd rather not face those other three."

In Mexico 1986, Michel Platini's France beat Zico's Brazil on penalties in the quarter-finals. In 1998, Zinedine Zidane led Les Bleus to their first and only World Cup title in an epic 3-0 win over the Brazilians. Until that day in Saint Denis, Brazil had never lost by three goals in a World Cup match.

Yet the biggest trauma of all came when Uruguay won 2-1 at the Maracanã stadium in the decisive game of the 1950 World Cup - a fixture now colloquially known as the Maracanazo.

Housewife Elena Bocchi, 34, has bought tickets for two quarter-final matches, but hopes Brazil won't be facing France or Uruguay at that stage. "I'd rather not go if it is one of those two," she says. "These two are a ghost to us and I would find it very risky to face them early on. I hope the draw helps us do that."

Cláudio Rocca, 22, is more worried about Germany. "A lightning never strikes twice at the same place. I have no worry with Uruguay or France. I am more concerned with Germany because they have a better team than ours," he says. "The Germans almost won in 2010 and they are even better now. Brazil has to improve a lot to take them on with a good chance of winning."

Some Brazilians fear teams they know a little less about. "Cameroon could be difficult, they took us out in the Olympic Games some time ago. Is that Roger Milla still there?" joked Roberto Kusumoto, 62. "Brazil always loses to African teams in the Olympics. That could happen in the World Cup too."

The final draw for the 2014 World Cup will start at 4pm GMT.


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