Gabriele Marcotti will periodically answer questions from SI.com users in his mailbag.
Brazil is the overwhelming favorite to win the World Cup, and when you look at the players head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has at his disposal, there's no question why.
But to cram all his superstars into the starting lineup, Parreira has had to forsake solidity for sheer talent. Like a Fabergé egg, the Seleçăo is gorgeous but fragile. Its weaknesses can be exploited by the right players.
Ronaldinho and Kaká, sitting behind strikers Ronaldo and Adriano, are used to roaming free on their club teams, but they'll have to adjust to each other's presence on the big stage. They'll have to work harder defensively and try to stay out of each other's way. An opponent with an energetic midfield that can create gridlock in the middle of the pitch could drive the two Brazilians wide and limit their effectiveness.
Legendary fullbacks Cafú and Roberto Carlos are 36 and 33 years old, respectively, and each will have the difficult task of covering the whole flank on his own. Making them work hard is imperative, and that requires forwards with good movement who can pin the Brazilians back and deprive them of width. France's Thierry Henry and Argentina's Hernán Crespo are particularly suited to the task.
Brazil goalkeeper Dida was outstanding for much of 2004-05 but has been erratic over the past 12 months as he recovered from a thigh injury, so opponents' front men must test him as often as possible. A quick, clever striker who is adept at feeding off scraps and rebounds would be a big help, too -- someone like England's Michael Owen or Argentina's Carlos Tévez.
Emerson and Zé Roberto will play in front of the back four and provide most of Brazil's defensive cover. Yet Zé Roberto is a natural winger, while Emerson has been struggling all season with a groin problem. A team with big, physical marauders such as England's Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard and Germany's Michael Ballack could cause problems by keeping the Brazilians under pressure and breaking the supply lines to the front four.
Finally, two obvious tips to beat Brazil: Maintain possession (if Brazil doesn't have the ball, it can't score), something at which Spain, Mexico and Holland are very good; and, since you'll be facing plenty of shots, make sure you have a top-shelf goalkeeper such as Italy's Gigi Buffon or the Czech Republic's Petr Cech.