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Scolari: Brazil favorites to win World Cup

Updated: 2013-10-21 16:55
( Xinhua)

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari accepts that Brazil will be favorites to win next year's World Cup on home soil.

Scolari, who guided the Selecao to victory at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, warned rivals his team is ready to replicate the form that saw them overcome Spain 3-0 in the Confederations Cup final in June.

"If we continue at this rate and continue working like we are, it's going to be difficult to beat us," Scolari told TV Globo on Sunday.

"We don't have the experience of some of the other teams but we have the pace and dynamism that few teams can match."

The comments represent a change of tone from Scolari, who in July said the team did not yet deserve favorite status.

"We have to make the final and win it. Brazil are not only favorites, we obligated to win it," Scolari said. "We only have one goal, and that's to finish first. Nobody is going to accept second."

Brazil are currently ranked 11th in the FIFA world rankings, a position skewed by the team's lack of competitive matches due to their automatic World Cup qualification.

Surprisingly, reigning European and world champions Spain were not among the countries listed by Scolari as Brazil's most likely challengers during the June 12-July 13 tournament.

When asked to name other contenders, he replied: "Germany, Argentina and England, who are playing very well under Roy Hodgson. The Netherlands have a lot of quality and Colombia have one of their best teams in 40 or 50 years."

Scolari said he hopes Portugal, whom he coached from 2003 to 2008, qualify via the playoffs.

"It would be great to see Cristiano Ronaldo there," Scolari said.

The 64-year-old also gave the strongest indication yet that Diego Costa will be selected for Brazil's friendlies against Honduras and Chile next month.

Brazil-born Costa is embroiled in a nationality dispute after informing FIFA of his desire to play for Spain, where he has lived since 2007 and with whom he holds citizenship.

"He shouldn't be able to play for another country after playing in two friendlies for Brazil," Scolari said. "It's up to me to decide whether I select him and that's what I intend to do."