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Brazil

Brazil

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Team Profile: Brazil

GettyImagesBrazil's third title at Mexico 1970 was achieved in thrilling style

Appearances at finals:
1930: First round
1934: First round
1938: Third place
1950. Runners-up
1954: Quarter-finals
1958: Winners
1962. Winners
1966: First round
1970: Winners
1974: Fourth place
1978: Third place
1982: Second group stage
1986: Quarter-finals
1990: Second round
1994: Winners
1998: Runners-up
2002: Winners
2006: Quarter-finals

Overall record at finals: Played 92, Won 64, Drawn 14, Lost 14.

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

Most appearances at finals: Cafú (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006) - 21.

Most goals at finals. Ronaldo (1998, 2002, 2006) - 15.

World Cup high: Becoming the first country to win three World Cups with what has been described as the world's greatest ever team in 1970. They defeated Italy 4-1 in the final and were graced by an attacking line-up that boasted Pelé, Tostao, Gerson, Jairzinho and Rivelino. As close to attacking football perfection as has yet been seen.

World Cup low: Losing the final of France 98, where star man Ronaldo played like a zombie after suffering a fit in the hours leading up to the match. Brazil had no answer to a Zinedine Zidane-inspired France and crashed to a 3-0 defeat.

World Cup legend: Pelé played in four World Cups and remains the only player to have won three World Cups. He was champion for the first time as a 17-year-old at Sweden 1958. Having missed much of the 1962 tournament after suffering an injury in Brazil's second game, and then being kicked out of the tournament after rough-house tactics from Hungary and Portugal as Brazil exited, he secured his legend at Mexico 70, where he inspired the tournament's best-ever team, scoring in the final and providing the assist for Carlos Alberto's wonderful goal to clinch the 4-1 win. Overall, he played 14 games and scored a total of 12 goals.

The story so far: The team and country most associated with the World Cup, Brazil's love affair with the greatest show on earth has been one of constant attendance. They are the only team to have played in all 19 tournaments and their non-participation is almost unthinkable. They first showed their potential in 1938 when losing in the semi-finals and unearthing a true star in Leônidas.

As hosts in 1950, a nation went into mourning when Uruguay beat them 2-1 in the deciding match, with the result that Brazil have not worn white-coloured shirts since. It was in Sweden in 1958 that they finally lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy after unearthing Pelé and Garrincha as they became the first team to win the World Cup in a different continent. Pelé's injury in 1962 left Garrincha as the star man and the winger, as well as Pelé's replacement, Amarildo, secured victory in Chile. The high point came in 1970 with the Jules Rimet Trophy claimed forever and the world dazzled by a team that won every game in unmatched style.

The rest of the 70s were not so glorious, although they claimed third place in 1978. Four years later, Brazil were again the entertainers but fell to Italian guile in a classic second-round encounter. Mexico 86 and Italia 90 were tales of unfulfilled promise and premature exits, but USA 94 saw Brazil, perhaps more cautious than before, able to win the World Cup trophy after beating Italy on penalties in the final in Pasadena. In 1998, they were favourites but disaster struck in Paris amid the infamous Ronaldo saga and they lost 3-0. Ronaldo achieved vindication in 2002, though, with two goals in the final to complete a remarkable comeback. Germany 2006 saw them again expected to cruise to glory but their malfunctioning superstars were dumped out by a resurgent France.

Qualification: Brazil won the South American qualifying tournament with ease, and could afford to lose and draw their last two matches with Bolivia and Venezuela respectively. Coach Dunga ignored those who criticised his style of play as Luis Fabiano starred in attack and Julio Cesar in goal.

During their campaign, they beat Argentina 3-1 away for the first time in 14 years, and they once again enter the finals tournament as a heavily-favoured team.

Qualifying record: P18, W9, D7, L2, F33, A11, Pts34.

Most appearances: Julio Cesar (18).

Top goalscorer: Luis Fabiano (9).