Keep an eye on: Willian (25), Midfielder,5 caps, Goals: 1
Chelsea’s 25-year-old midfielder Willian might not be guaranteed a place in the starting XI given the bench strength at Scolari’s disposal, but make no mistake, any other team and he would probably be the first name on the team sheet.
It is for the same reason Chelsea forked out £30 million to Anzhi last year, and snatched him from under Tottenham's nose.
While his season did not get off to a flier, Willian slowly made himself invaluable to Jose Mourinho, and is now a regular starter.
His excellent work-rate and willingness to track back and help out the defence almost make him un-Brazilian, especially since he is considered an attacking mid-fielder.
In an interview to TalkSport, Willian said, “I have always been told that I am a creative player with lots of strengths in attacking play, but since I arrived here (Chelsea) I have tried to develop the defensive side of my game and my marking, and it is working for me.”
Scolari will look to deploy Willian as a cover for either Oscar or Hulk. He will be ideal as an attacking substitute when the team needs a spark, or as a holder by pressing upfront to protect the lead.- S.V. Sriram
Configured in a 4-2-3-1, Brazil will rely heavily on the creativity of Oscar and Neymar, and the solidity of Thiago Silva and David Luiz at the back.
The notable feature of the system is the role of midfield pivot Luiz Gustavo, who acts as an auxillary third centre-back — allowing the full-backs and the likes of centre-back Luiz to venture forward.
The Wolfsburg player will also be covering the space left by Paulinho when the latter joins the attack. The lack of options upfront is a cause for worry, however.
THE DRIVING FORCE: Luis Felipe Scolari
Burdened with the task of restoring a depleted and underperforming Selecao to a level where they could mount a serious challenge for the title once again, Scolari has worked wonders to put the side on the path to glory.
‘Big Phil’, since his reappointment in November 2012, has only lost two out of 20 games.
The demolition of Spain last June in the Confederations Cup final vindicated his theory that tiki-taka can be dismantled.
Scolari knows that anything less than the World Cup crown will be considered a failure in front of the home fans.“We have everything that allows us to be the best team. That’s why I fully trust that we can make it to the final and be the champion,” he says.
Apart from winning the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, the 65-year-old has led Portugal to the Euro 2004 final, 2006 World Cup semifinals and the quarterfinals of Euro 2008.
Portugal was voted the 'most exciting' team in 2006, a testament to Scolari’s attacking philosophy.
He will look to go one better than 1950 when the Brazilians finished runners-up on home soil.