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Dec 3, 2013

Thiago relishing Brazil expectations

ESPN FC's Ian Darke profiles Brazil.

Thiago Silva has acknowledged Brazil face "positive pressure" from their compatriots ahead of next summer's World Cup on home soil.

Brazil celebrate Thiago Silva's equaliser.
Thiago is the captain of Bazil.

• 2014 World Cup venue guides
• Draw Simulator

Silva, 29, will lead the Selecao into the finals with their nation hoping to see a side packed with talents such as the Paris Saint-Germain defender and Barcelona star Neymar sweep to a sixth global crown.

While many may crumble under the weight of expectation, Silva told RMC Luiz Felipe Scolari's squad will feed off the public's enthusiasm to help wipe away the painful memories of their nation's defeat in the final the last time the South American country hosted football's biggest tournament in 1950.

He said: "There's a certain pressure on us, but it's positive pressure. It can push us to do some great things. We can't slacken off at that moment. This World Cup is a unique moment for us.

"It's like the Brazil team that played against Uruguay in the final in 1950. We can't let things slide at that moment. We have to do it differently. We need time to train and improve. But we have to prove to ourselves and prove to others that we'll experience a unique moment."

Silva and his teammates will learn their group stage opponents when the draw is made on Friday. Though they are unlikely to encounter many problems in reaching the knockout stages, the former AC Milan centre-back told L'Equipe he fears meeting Spain later in the competition, despite the world and European champions having been swept aside by Brazil in last summer's Confederations Cup.

He said: "Spain are a stronger team than us, that's for sure. It's not because we beat the 3-0 in the final that we imagine ourselves to be better than them. But Brazil remains Brazil, especially because we're playing at home. We also have great players. This World Cup is a dream for us and all Brazilians. So we're working to win it. I think about it every day."

Silva has not, however, allowed himself to be distracted from his duties with PSG. Also captain of the French champions, he has led the side to the top of the table and helped them ease impressively into the last 16 of the Champions League, a competition he claims his club can now win after making progress under Carlo Ancelotti and his successor, Laurent Blanc.

"It's certain that we've made a step forward. We've advanced in the last two years. But we're not the best team in the world right now. We have to keep a cool head. That's an important thing, particularly after great victories like that against Lyon," he said.

"We can win the Champions League, because we have a great squad with a lot of quality. We also have great technical staff who, in my opinion, have made the difference this season. When we can count on [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Edinson] Cavani, [Jeremy] Menez, [Ezequiel] Lavezzi or Lucas [Moura] in attack, we can win the Champions League this year."

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