SAO PAULO (AP) — Playing at home, Brazil will be attracting more attention than usual at the World Cup.
Without as many stars as in previous tournaments, Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari will rely on a squad mixed with young talents such as Neymar and some more experienced players such as Thiago Silva.
The era or Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho is clearly over for the five-time champions, so it will be up to the promising youngsters to carry the responsibility of giving Brazil the coveted title at home.
Here are five players to watch:
He is only 22 years old but will be carrying the hopes of an entire country on the back of his No. 10 shirt.
Neymar is Brazil's biggest star in a squad without a lot of big names, so all eyes will be on him when the hosts begin their campaign against Croatia in the opener on June 12.
He already attracted most of the attention even before his high-profile transfer to Barcelona last year, and with the experience gained by playing alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, his responsibility leading Brazil's national team has only increased.
For a long time Neymar was criticized for his lackluster performances with the national team, but he proved his worth at last year's Confederations Cup, becoming the tournament's most valuable player and leading Brazil to the title. He scored a goal in the 3-0 win over world champion Spain in the final.
To add to the pressure, Neymar will be wearing the No. 10 jersey, the one Pele made famous while winning three World Cup titles for Brazil.
Oscar, another young talent in the squad, will be in charge of leading Brazil's midfield when the World Cup begins.
The 22-year-old Chelsea player has been a key component for the national team and Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is betting on the playmaker to be in top form during the World Cup.
Oscar has had a lot of success with Brazil's national team at all levels. He scored three goals in the final against Portugal at the Under-20 World Cup in 2011, and also played at the 2012 Olympics, when Brazil was runner-up to Mexico.