It was England whom Brazil defeated in the quarter-finals 12 years ago on the way to their last World Cup victory. What does Cafu make of the 2014 crop?
“You have an interesting team this time. England have always been respected but a World Cup is very different. Anything can happen. You have seven matches to win it. You play seven good matches and who knows? England is a team that is used to playing in World Cup finals. You have a mix of experience and young players and we don’t know how that will work.
“England are one of the teams that are a traditional power and have won a World Cup before. They are not going there just to play and take part. It is not crazy to think they can go there to win. As for the heat affecting the players, in 1994 in America it was just as bad. I think that the distances that teams will have to fly to play games is worse than the heat.
“I have played against the big England players – Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole. I never like to point out somebody because they are all great players with experience. I mention Rooney because he is someone who is a fighter and he has character. There is never a lost cause with him. He never gives up.”
What of his fellow full-back Cole, left behind this time? “He’s a great player, resilient and a hard worker. I always think if you are not a hard worker, you will get nowhere in English football.”Reuse content