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No. 15: John Terry, Chelsea

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Ramires hoping for Brazil improvement

Chelsea midfielder Ramires admits it is "strange" to see Brazil currently struggling in international football.

The five-time World Cup winners are at present ranked 18th in the world, just over a year before they host the FIFA tournament.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Ramires said that while it was odd to see Brazil ranked so low, the Selecao are currently undergoing a transition phase and hope to reach their peak come next summer.

"It is a bit strange to see Brazil in 18th," he said. "Everyone is used to seeing Brazil in the top three or so, but we're a team getting renewed. We lost a lot of players and haven't won a lot of competitions recently, so it's not a surprise that we have fallen. But we are working hard and want to put Brazil back in the higher positions.

"Obviously the team have been going through a difficult time because the team are getting renovated. It's a new period for this squad. We need time to get this team to gel together for the World Cup.

"We know we don't have that much time now so we're trying to cut things short so we're strong. As hosts, we're not playing qualifying games but we look at the friendlies against teams like Russia as qualifying matches. We want to be prepared for the World Cup and after that we will take more consideration of where we are in the rankings."

Ramires, however, is hopeful that reinstated manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, who won the country's last World Cup in 2002, can turns things around.

"He is a great coach, a winning coach," Ramires said. "A lot of the squad were very young and were watching when he led Brazil to the fifth World Cup and, yes, we hope his experience can help bring us similar success.

"There is a lot of responsibility because if we win the World Cup for Brazil at home we will be marked forever as part of the team that brought joy to the nation. If we don't, it could be a case of some players getting booed. We have to look at it as an exciting time but also one with great responsibility.

"I followed a lot of the games when Brazil won the World Cup with Scolari in charge. I was 15 and was understanding more about football then because I had begun playing in the soccer schools in my town. I have always heard great things about him and now I have had the pleasure of meeting him. He is a great person, a great manager."

Brazil take on Italy in Geneva on Thursday before facing Russia at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

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