Brazilian legend Cafu has backed his nation to win the World Cup for a sixth time in Qatar and spoke highly of ‘talent’ within England’s squad, although he does not consider them a favourite.
The defender lifted the trophy himself 20 years ago as Brazil triumphed in Japan and South Korea in 2002, beating the Three Lions on the way to their fifth World Cup crown.
Much has been made of the Selecao’s failure to win the tournament since that triumph in 2002, famously crashing out after a humiliating 7-1 defeat on home soil at the hands of Germany in 2014, and again falling in 2018.
Speaking to the Daily Mail ahead of the tournament, Cafu explained: “I think Brazil will win this year.
“This is the strongest group of players since 2002 and the team don’t rely too much on Neymar, like in the past. Brazil are strong in all areas: defence, midfield and attack.”
Cafu added, discussing the wait for another win: “Twenty years without winning a World Cup or even without a final appearance is too much for Brazil. I believe this will end in Qatar.”
He was complimentary of the competition, though, too: “Brazil are ahead of every other team. But I think Argentina are very strong as well. They are playing well and Lionel Messi is a genius. France have the same team that won four years ago. These are the three favourites.
“England have the talent,” he continued: “They have very good players. Harry Kane, for example, is a top centre-forward. The World Cup is a very particular tournament. It depends which team you’re going to face, that specific moment, how you feel on the day of the match. That’s why it is so hard to win it. But England have a very good team and they have a lot of potential in it.”
Gareth Southgate’s side reached the semi-final in 2018 and finished runners up at Euro 2020, but bowed out to Brazil 20 years ago in the last eight.