The past
The Olympic gold medal remains the only major honour to have eluded five-time world champions Brazil, this despite having contested consecutive finals in 1984 and 1988. Their last appearance at a Men's Olympic Football Tournament was at Sydney 2000 when, under the guidance of Vanderlei Luxemburgo and the leadership of Ronaldinho, they crashed out in the quarter-finals to eventual champions Cameroon. After missing out on Athens 2004, when they had to watch neighbours and rivals Argentina take the top prize, you can be sure the Seleção will be hungrier than ever for that elusive gold in Beijing.

The present
Unlike most other sides, the Olympic squad is managed by the senior team coach, in this case Carlos Dunga, himself a veteran of the 1984 edition in Los Angeles. True to form, the coach has left no stone unturned in putting assembling his squad. The 1994 FIFA World Cup™ winner used recent friendlies to assess the likes of Alexandre Pato, a member of the U-20 side that secured their berth in Beijing with victory at last year's South American U-20 Championship. With the likes of Lucas and Marcelo set to join up with the AC Milan starlet, and over-23 reinforcements such as Ronaldinho, Brazil will arrive at the big event in China as strong gold-medal favourites.

The future
"Many people think the Olympics are not as important to us as the World Cup, as we have five of those already. But we're Brazil, and every time we take to the pitch, we do so to win. We want to claim our country's first gold medal [in football]," said Dunga giving some indication of his plans when the team arrives in China.

Facts and figures

Former stars
Dunga (1984), Claudio Taffarel (1988), Careca (1988), Romario (1988), Dida (1996), Bebeto (1988 and 1996), Rivaldo (1996)

Key players
Marcelo (defender), Lucas (midfielder), Ronaldinho (midfielder), Alexandre Pato (forward)

Qualifying statistics
Brazil secured their berth in Beijing by virtue of winning the South American U-20 Championship in 2007 in Paraguay. They did so in some style too, staying unbeaten throughout with six wins and three draws, scoring 20 goals and conceding just nine.

The numbers game
3: The number of times Brazil have had podium finishes at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament: they took silver at Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988, while in Atlanta in 1996 they had to make do with bronze.