10 June 2014 | News Comments

Pele: Brazil's defence is their greatest asset

Brazil's mesmeric attacking football has long delighted crowds on the world stage, but a steely defence more synonymous with the likes of Italy or Germany is the biggest asset of this year's World Cup hosts, according to Pele.

"For the first time in the history of football in Brazil, Brazil has the defence better than the attack.

“You see the midfield back is fantastic, very organised," said the former Brazil forward, widely regarded as the greatest ever footballer.

Brazil, drawn in Group A along with Mexico, Cameroon and Croatia, against whom they open the tournament on Thursday in Sao Paulo, boast a host of top defensive players such as Daniel Alves, David Luiz, Ramires, Thiago Silva and Fernandinho.

"This is the first time Brazil has this difference, I hope we can adjust the midfield forward," Pele said.

"For the first time in the history of football in Brazil, Brazil has the defence better than the attack" - Pele

Responsibility for the goals will fall squarely at the talented feet of striker Neymar, the young Barcelona frontman who already boasts some inspirational performances for Brazil and is capable of leading their charge, according to Pele.

"I wish Neymar will be the star of this World Cup," he said, listing stiff competition from players like Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina's Lionel Messi.

Pele believes Argentina will be one of Brazil's main rivals for the title, with Chile as potential surprise packages and Germany and holders Spain the pick of the European teams.