6 May 2014

Zico warns Brazil of Uruguay threat

11:40 am on 6 May 2014

The former Brazil football star Zico makes his countrymen World Cup favourites - but warns Uruguay, who wrecked the Selecao's dreams on their last hosting in 1950, are his dark horses.

The former Japan coach particularly hopes Brazil don't meet Luis Suarez and company in the final.

Zico ventured that if Brazil did meet Uruguay once again in the trophy match the pressure would be huge "because many people will be speaking about 1950," when the Uruguayans came from behind to score a shock win.

He suggested then as now, the Brazilians would feel "an obligation to win - and this could destabilise them.

Zico also admits he'd be happy to see Uruguay not get out of the group phase.

With regard to Argentina, who won their two Cups in the last two editions of the event to be played in Latin America, at home in 1978 and in Mexico eight years later, Zico says the Lionel Messi factor was the key.

Barcelona star Messi is seen by many as needing to add a world title to his club achievements before he can be regarded as the best player ever.

Zico says he believes that European teams would find the going tough in Brazil but says if any European side could prosper, it would be Italy.