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Football: Parreira says Brazil have best defence

Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's right-hand man said on Monday that Brazil were good enough to win the World Cup and already had "one hand on the trophy."

TERESOPOLIS, Brazil: Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's right-hand man said on Monday that Brazil were good enough to win the World Cup and already had "one hand on the trophy."

Asked what he had learned in previous World Cups, from his backroom role in Brazil's 1970 triumph to his success at the 1994 finals, Carlos Alberto Parreira said that getting things right off the field was crucial.

"That's not easy. It entails the operational side of things, logistics, planning, the relationship with the fans, the media, the working atmosphere," said the 71-year-old team technical coordinator.

"We have already achieved that, therefore we already have one hand on the trophy. We are favorites -- but of course that is not enough to win. Look how many favorites fell by the wayside in the past.

"We have a great team, the team is very good. We are confident in these players -- just look at the team we have," said Parreira, who led the Selecao to glory in 1994 before Scolari added Brazil's fifth World Cup crown in 2002.

Parreira said the traditionally attack-minded Brazilians have a rock-solid central defensive partnership in David Luiz and Thiago Silva, whom the former will join next season at Paris Saint-Germain to bolster their hopes.

And he praised the strength of the squad as a whole.

"We have experienced, quality players renowned on the international stage and we are playing at home," added Parreira, who has recent experience of shouldering the pressure of playing on home soil after leading South Africa in 2010.

Brazil famously lost the 1950 trophy match at home to Uruguay, but Parreira said that only redoubled their zeal to win their sixth title this time and put right an anomaly.

"Of the big teams, we are the only one never to have won at home. We want to rewrite history. We already lost one Cup and we don't want to lose a second one," said Parreira.

He added that 1950 coach Flavio Costa had told him that there were distractions on that occasion, including politicians in the dressing room.

"Off-pitch matters did not help, said Parreira.

Parreira himself faced criticism when his side lost in the 2006 edition to France in the quarter-finals. He was accused in some quarters of allowing fans and media too much access to the squad.

In 2010, with Dunga at the helm, the reverse was the case, with the players closed off amid poor relations with the press. The result was the same -- a last-eight exit, this time to Holland.

Parreira said there was a fine line between the two extremes.

"We shall try to avoid complete openness and total closure," he said.

"It is important to train with serenity and amid security. Security will not permit 1,000 people spending the day here."

Parreira added that there were plans afoot to select a dozen or so fans for a brief meet and greet to counter criticism that training will not be open to the public at the squad's luxurious Granja Comary complex outside Rio.

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