Zico warns Brazil of Uruguayan deja vu
05 May 2014, 21:51
Rio de Janeiro - Former Brazil star Zico makes his countrymen World Cup favorites -- 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.
"I would prefer to meet Argentina in the final. Not Uruguay," said Zico.
"I think Uruguay could be the only team who could psychologically shake the Brazilian team," he explained in an interview with Monday's Estado de Sao Paulo.
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.
Then, as now, Zico suggested, the Brazilians would feel "an obligation to win -- and this could destabilize them," said Zico, who admitted 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 said the Messi factor was the key.
Barcelona star Lionel 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.
And Zico indicated his country's chances depended on ensuring the squad play to his strengths.
"Today, Argentina understand they have to play for Messi for the team to do well, though they have good players.
"It's not that the team depends on him, rather that playing more to his strengths than they played before," 1982 star Zico suggested.
He added he believed that European teams would find the going tough in Brazil but said if any European side could prosper it would be Italy.
"The Italians always are transformed when it comes to official competition," Zico said, judging Spain short on goalscoring firepower and Holland's style not to his liking nor easy on the neutral's eye.