Seleção set title target
Brazil's arrival in Bloemfontein yesterday evening means that the eight teams set to contest the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 are all safely on South African soil. A Seleção were the last team to arrive after being involved in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying action on Wednesday but, despite understandable signs of fatigue, they were in upbeat mood ahead of the 'Festival of Champions'.
"We're going to fight for the title, that's our goal," said captain Lucio. "We have to respect all the other teams but our main objective is to win the tournament," added the defender, whose team cemented their place at the top of the South American Zone standings in South Africa 2010 qualifying with wins over Uruguay and Paraguay this week.
"Even though this is a different competition, the two qualifying wins were very important. These results put us in the best possible frame of mind for the matches ahead."
Up first for Dunga's charges are African champions Egypt in Bloemfontein on Monday 15 June. "Brazil must always play to win," said the coach. "Even if we're at the end of the season, the players' spirit and mentality out on the pitch must always be focused on winning."
The South Americans then face CONCACAF Gold Cup holders USA on 18 June, before a heavyweight final Group B duel with fellow contenders and world champions Italy three days later. "Brazil are Copa America holders and have been world champions five times," continued Dunga, whose team could meet on-form UEFA EURO 2008 victors Spain in the latter stages. "That said, we've obviously got to respect Italy and Spain. The national teams here are all great sides."
Lucio added: "We're not the hot favourites, but the Brazilian national team has a lot of strength and ability too. The Confederations Cup is a short tournament and so mental preparation is most important. This competition is over very quickly and the team who are the best prepared will be crowned champions."