Neymar has no interest in being the best player at the finals if it meant Brazil won the Cup on home soil. Brazil opens the World Cup when they play Croatia in Sao Paulo. Quick and skilful, and in many ways the face of this World Cup, Neymar faces intense pressure to lead the widely fancied Brazil team to a record sixth title and its first at home



Quick and skilful, and in many ways the face of this World Cup, Neymar faces intense pressure to lead the widely fancied Brazil team to a record sixth title and its first at home.

"For me, I don't want to be the best player of the World Cup, I don't want to be the best goalscorer in the World Cup," Neymar said. "I only want the title. I have always dreamed of it and what I most care for today is the World Cup title."

Neymar, the 22-year old Barcelona forward seems to rise to the occasion when wearing a yellow shirt and he said he cannot wait for the match.

"The time has come hasn't it?" Neymar said. "The time has come that all Brazilians, I guess the whole world has been waiting for. Principally for us players, the coaches, we hope that this day passes as quickly as possible."

Brazil last won the World Cup in 2002 and they have the same coach now as they did then with Luiz Felipe Scolari at the helm. The former Chelsea and Portugal coach said there were a lot of similarities between the 2002 squad and his current crop of players. "Collectively they are similar. There exists a lot of dedication and a lot of athletes that have the personality and ability to adapt their game in some situations and play a way they are not used to in order to win the title, like the team did in 2002," Scolari said. Scolari also echoed Neymar's thoughts about the player of the tournament award. "It doesn't help to be the best player in the World Cup if you don't end up the champion," Scolari said. "There is only one objective, to be the World Cup champions. That is the goal of all the teams."

The last time Brazil played at home in the World Cup finals a 2-1 loss to Uruguay ended their hopes of a winning a first world title and plunged the country into a state of mourning. When the Brazilians face Croatia in the opening match of this year's World Cup on Thursday 64 years after that tumultuous loss, the pressure to win will be just as huge.

Defeat by Croatia would not mark the end of Brazil's World Cup chances. It would, however, deflate a nation of 200 million people who expect the home team not only to win this match but every one of their games over the next month. Nothing except a sixth world title will suffice. The omens are good for a positive result against Croatia as no host nation has ever lost their opening match in the World Cup.

Brazil are favorites not just because of their great World Cup record but also because Luiz Felipe Scolari's team have won 15 of their last 16 games, including five in a row to win last year's Confederations Cup. Scolari has no injury doubts and barring any late surprises the team that lines up against Croatia is expected to be the same one that beat Spain in the final 12 months ago. Julio Cesar will be in goal, hoping to bury the ghosts of 2010 when his error against the Netherlands led to Brazil's elimination in the quarter-finals. Thiago Silva and David Luiz will be in the heart of the defense, with Marcelo and Dani Alves on the flanks. Paulinho, Luiz Gustavo and Oscar will form a three-man midfield, with Neymar and Hulk working between them and center forward Fred.


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"Brazil's Neymar Dreams of World Cup Title Not Best Player Honors "