Facts & figures: Brazil

Factbox on World Cup qualifiers Brazil: World Cup record:

Previous appearances in finals: 18

Best performance: Winners in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002

Runners up in 1950, 1998

Coach: Dunga, who was Brazil's World Cup-winning captain in 1994, having rebounded from a miserable experience four years earlier when he was made the scapegoat for their second-round exit. Appointed shortly after the 2006 World Cup, despite having almost no top-level coaching experience, to instil discipline and pride into the team. He has since won the 2007 Copa America and 2009 Confederations Cup, although many purists dislike the team's counter-attacking style under his leadership.

Key players: Kaka (Real Madrid). Age: 27. Midfielder

FIFA's World Player of the Year in 2007, Kaka, full name Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, is still regarded as one of the world's top players. Excellent long-range shooting and incisive passing are both strengths but he is at his most exciting when picking up the ball near the halfway line and then surging towards goal. Ever-present in 2006, he also won a World Cup winners' medal four years earlier as a teenager although he made only a brief appearance in the campaign.

Luis Fabiano (Sevilla). Age 29. Forward.

The "Fabulous One" scored nine goals in 11 World Cup qualifiers including braces against Uruguay, Chile, Peru and Argentina, making him Brazil's top scorer in the campaign. His combination of power and accuracy makes him perfect for Dunga's counter-attacking style.

Julio Cesar (Inter Milan). Age: 30. Goalkeeper

Has emerged as one of the top world's top goalkeepers. In several of Brazil's apparently easy World Cup wins -- notably the 4-0 victories in Venezuela and Uruguay -- he made the difference with outstanding saves early in the game.

FIFA world ranking November 2009: 2

How they qualified: Brazil sailed through the potentially tricky South American World Cup group, booking their place with three matches to spare in the best way possible with a 3-1 away to arch-rivals Argentina. Their best performances were away from home, including a 3-0 win in Chile and 4-0 wins in Uruguay and Venezuela. Their biggest problems were at home facing massed defences and they were held to goalless draws by Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. Their only defeats in the 18 matches were against Paraguay and Bolivia, the latter at extreme altitude after they had already qualified.

Prospects: Dunga has turned Brazil into a ruthlessly efficient outfit, even if they are not particularly attractive to watch. They are capable of soaking up pressure for long periods and then hitting their opponents with counter-attacks of astonishing power and precision. The air of overconfidence which has preceded their 2006 campaign has been swept away, making them a good bet for a sixth world title.