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NEW manager Mano Menezes injected fresh offensive blood into a Seleção that was all work and no play. Young forwards Neymar (Santos) and Alexandre Pato (AC Milan) bring dazzling speed and goals, while the defense is solid with Júlio César in goal and Inter teammate Lúcio on the backline. A midfield with no fight is the only vulnerability.
PREDICTION Group winner
HERE'S a headline worthy of The Onion: Get ready for an all-out attack from La Albirroja's lone forward. The team beloved by soccer haters and penalty-shootout aficionados will again crowd the opponents' box on direct kicks on goal—and it will pay off initially. Then the football gods will say, Enough!
PREDICTION Group runner-up
LA VINOTINTO is like a bottle of cooking wine: not too bad to drink, with plenty of punch. Strikers José Salomón Rondón (Málaga), Gianfranco Maldonado (Atlante) and Juan Arango (Borussia Mönchengladbach) will provide excitement—as will a hole-riddled defense.