Country facts:

Area: 8,511,965 sq km
Population: 184,101,109
Languages: Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, Frenc
Currency: real (BRL)
Climate: mostly tropical, but temperate in south


Brazil soccer information

Forgotten in the aftermath of Brazil's impressively composed fifth FIFA World Cup? championship was the struggle that the Seleçao went through to even reach the finals of Korea/Japan 2002. Losses in qualifying to Paraguay, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Argentina and Bolivia had conventional wisdom firmly against the greatest progenitors of futebol-arte to an extent that had not been seen since Pele and Garrincha first pulled on the magical yellow strip together.
Of course, the "three R's" of Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho led the side through the upset-laden finals and to the unprecedented Penta. But, the fact remains that the talent level in the South American qualifying region has reached frightening proportions for Brazil ? a country whose supporters and media tend to do a pretty good job scaring themselves anyway. Perhaps it is this fear that has led Brazil, who are inevitably concerned with playing the beautiful game, to take an unexpected step backwards in time.
The nation that produces football wizards like coffee beans celebrated relatively half-heartedly when they won at USA '94 partially because of what some saw as the overly conservative tactics and team selection of coach Carlos Alberto Perreira ? the man who has been re-hired for the job. Perhaps the consistency and solidity that he brings as coach will do just the trick for the always rich pool of players available to Brazil.
Certainly a lot of Luis Felipe Scolari's men will be back this time around, but how adventurous the side will be is up for conjecture. Defensive midfield will probably be reinforced to cover the important marauding of full-backs Roberto Carlos and Cafu, and the attacking players may not be allowed the freedom of movement that they were in the Far East. However, the Brazilian defence appears to finally have reached a typically high standard and that should allow for some leeway.
Brazil have got the defence of their world title off to quite a satisfactory start. Not only has the regular team taken pole position in the qualifiers for Germany 2006, but what was effectively a reserve XI went on to win the 2004 Copa América in Peru. All in all, reasons aplenty to expect smooth passage to Germany.

Founded 1914
Affiliated 1923
WC participations 17 (1930, 1934, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002)
WC honours 5-time FIFA World Cup winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002), 2-time FIFA World Cup runners-up (1950, 1998), twice finished in 3rd place (1938, 1978)
Continental Titles Copa America 7 times (1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1993, 1997, 1999), Pan American Cup 4 times (1963, 1975 with Mexico, 1979, 1987)

Brazil can rightly lay claim to being called the kings of football. They have lifted the FIFA World Cup on five occasions. They also hold the attendance record for their defeat to Uruguay in front of 200,000 spectators on home soil in 1950.
Brazil won their first FIFA World Cup title eight years later in Sweden with a team which included a 17-year-old legend-in-the-making by the name of Pelé. Their hardest-earned FIFA World Cup triumph came in 1994, when the Auriverde won on penalties to
end a 24-year drought during which their teams struggled to come to terms with the physical style of opposition teams. Despite lifting the FIFA World Cup in 2002, Brazil will still have to qualify for the 2006 tournament.