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By ESPN Staff

'Brazil will edge England to Wolrd Cup' - Pele

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Pele is backing Brazil to retain the World Cup because they have more strength in depth than other top teams, like England or Italy.

'I think England has a good team this year, Italy has a very good team but of course Brazil is the favourite, without a doubt,' Pele told Reuters on Thursday.

He gave his views about the likely winners of this year's tournament in Germany on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, a gathering of political and business leaders.

'Brazil has two teams. If they have to change a player it makes no difference. But if a team like England or Italy lose their best players through injury, they have problems to get replacements,' said the triple World Cup-winner.

Pele was in Brazil's team at the finals in Sweden in 1958, the only time the South Americans have won the World Cup in Europe, and said there was an advantage for European sides this year, given that the finals are in Germany.

'Normally, with the Europeans playing in their weather, in front of their public it's always harder (for Brazil). But this year that could change,' he said.

Pele tipped Czech Republic and the Ivory Coast as countries who could spring a surprise at the finals.

The tournament starts in Munich on June 9 and features 32 teams playing a total of 64 matches across Germany, culminating in the final at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on July 9.