Scolari: Current squad rivals 2002 selection

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari claims his current squad is as good as the one that triumphed at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

The South American nation face the added expectation of hosting the marquee tournament, with fans demanding a sixth World Cup triumph on home soil.

Scolari knows all too well the pressure that comes with coaching Brazil, having been in charge the last time they were named world champions in Japan and South Korea 12 years ago.

And  the 65-year-old believes the players he has at his disposal are capable of matching the achievement of the class of 2002.

"The time has arrived. This World Cup is ours, and we will enter it together," Scolari said ahead of the World Cup curtain-raiser against Croatia on Thursday.

"This (squad) selection is collectively as good as my Brazil selection was in 2002. Everyone plays for the team."

While the 2002 team included the likes of Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, Barcelona forward Neymar will be looked upon to provide inspiration this time around.

Scolari acknowledged that his side is shaped to get the best out of the 22-year-old, and stated his trust in the former Santos man.

He added: "If Neymar wasn't on my side at Brazil, my selection would be playing in a different way. I'd have changed many things.

"Neymar will always make the difference, and can make the difference in any game. We all trust his abilities."

Brazil face Croatia at the Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo, on Thursday and will also battle Mexico and Cameroon in Group A.


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