CONFEDERATIONS CUP PREVIEW: EXPECTATIONS HIGH FOR HOSTS
David Luiz believes the Confederations Cup is a chance for Brazil to ensure they approach next summer's World Cup with the country's full backing.
It has been a difficult few months for the Selecao since Luiz Felipe Scolari returned as coach, with defeat to England in February followed by draws with Italy and Russia leaving them 19th in FIFA's world rankings, their lowest position since the system began in 1993.
Now, there is a chance to turn the tide, with a major international tournament on home soil, and despite the non-selection of Chelsea team-mate Ramires, David Luiz, who is joined in the squad by Oscar, is in confident mood.
'It's a chance for me to go back to my country and play in an important competition for Brazil. We need to win,' the 26-year-old told the official Chelsea website. 'The Brazilian people deserve that, it's been a long wait for a title so now is the time.
'It's a chance to bring everyone together in the country. The Brazilian fans love football, the national team, that's why we have a lot of pressure all the time, but if we can win the Confederations Cup we can be together for the World Cup. It will be better for us and make us stronger, and then we will want to win the World Cup at home.'
With a group including Italy, Japan and Mexico starting today (Saturday), Brazil will not have an easy ride through to the semi-finals, and a potential date with either Spain, featuring Juan Mata, Cesar Azpilicueta and Fernando Torres, or Nigeria with John Mikel Obi and Kenneth Omeruo.
'I spoke a little bit to the Spanish guys, I am glad they are all involved and we had a little joke about it,' he said. 'They have a very strong team like we do in Chelsea, so it will be a difficult competition but we have the quality to win it, and we have another help with the support. Playing at home is better for us.
'We hope to play in the Maracana, an historic stadium, in the final. I never played there in the past at the old stadium, so I hope to play many times in the new one. Every player in the world wants that opportunity.'
Brazil kick-off the tournament today against Japan, the match held in Brasilia. They are the competition's most successful nation having won three of the eight played, including the last two.
France have twice been champions and Argentina, Denmark and Mexico have a win apiece, so Spain and Nigeria are aiming for their first Confederations Cup success. Spain's best showing is third in South Africa four years ago.