Brazil is the only football team to make an appearance in each World Cup Finals. The Brazilians have made it to the championship game six times and taken home the trophy a record four times. The team may now be a little less cocky for the upcoming World Cup after finishing third in its South American qualifying group. The Brazilian team lost a surprising six qualifying games in the run up to the 2002 Finals in South Korea and Japan. But international football commentator Derek Rae says that might not matter.
"They did not have a very good qualifying campaign," he said. "They used more than 60 players in the course of the qualifiers, which is shockingly high. But you will remember back in '94 they lost their World Cup qualifying game for the first time against Bolivia, and at the end they won the World Cup. So, who knows?"
How well Brazil does may depend on "the three R's": Ronaldo, Romario and Rivaldo. Ronaldo appears to have recovered from injuries, and the 36-year-old Romario and Rivaldo each scored eight goals in qualifying. But Rae says there are questions about Rivaldo.
"Thought of by so many people as one of the best players in the world, but he has his share of critics," he said. "The suspicion is that very often the head goes down when things go against Brazil."
In the end, Derek Rae says it could all come down to the draw.
"I do not necessarily mean the group they are in," he said. "I think that should be straight forward for them. But after that, there is a real chance they could run into France or Argentina ahead of the semifinal stage, and that can not be good for them."
But first Brazil must get the job done in first round play in South Korea against Group-C opponents Turkey, China and Costa Rica.