Juninho Pernambucano believes Brazil will be one of the strongest teams at next summer’s World Cup.
Luis Felipe Scolari’s side had previously dropped to 22nd place in FIFA's world ranking, but made a mockery of that position by winning the Confederations Cup in June.
A Neymar inspired 3-0 thrashing of world champion Spain at the Maracana enhanced the dreams of the ever expectant Brazilian public, but former Lyon playmaker Juninho thinks the current crop of Samba stars have the ability to deliver on home soil.
Speaking to FIFA.com, the 38-year-old explained: “Over the last few months they’ve become a more solid, compact team, especially in defense.
“The Confederations Cup was a great test for next year. Brazil put in some excellent displays – against Spain in the final for example.”
Juninho – capped 40 times by his country – was a member of the Brazil squad which reached the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup, and drew parallels between that generation and this.
“When I think back to the side we had during the 2006 World Cup, it’s quite simply staggering," he added. "It was an honor to be in the same team as those wonderful players.”
But Juninho believes the likes of David Luiz, Oscar and Neymar can do what Kaka, Ronaldinho and Robinho could not.
“They’re a team that has lots of talented players and can still get even better," he continued. “One thing is certain: Brazil will be one of the favorites to lift the trophy.”