Pele talks up Brazil's chances at World Cup under new manager Tite

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Pele likes Brazil's chances at this year's World Cup.

Brazil legend Pele is full of praise for current national team manager Tite and thinks the side has an excellent chance of winning this year’s World Cup under his leadership.

“I like Tite. He’s honest with the players,” Pele said. “He’s going to be good and going to do nice work with Brazil.”

Pele says this year’s team should be making the final at the very least, if not winning it all, although he noted that Tite will have difficulties in getting the squad together to build his team ahead of the World Cup in Russia, with Brazil’s best players scattered across Europe.

The former Santos player added that he is not a fan of the World Cup’s decision to expand to 48 teams starting from 2026, although he acknowledged that it was a good opportunity for more countries to make it to football’s showpiece event.

“The more teams you get, the lower the quality of the game,” said Pele. “I think it’s too many teams.

“Let’s see. Maybe some country who’s never come to the final, never won the World Cup, could win.”

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Getting best out of Man United's Paul Pogba key to France's World Cup hopes, says Marcel Desailly

Tom Biggs 16/04/2018
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Paul Pogba in action for France

World Cup winner Marcel Desailly believes one of Didier Deschamps’ biggest selection decisions ahead of this summer’s FIFA World Cup is how the France boss utilises Paul Pogba.

The 25-year-old’s form for Manchester United under Jose Mourinho this season has been indifferent, with questions marks raised around how to get the best out of the Frenchman.

Didier Deschamps, who has a plethora of midfield talent at his disposal ahead of this summer’s tournament in Russia, will also be faced with the decision of how to make the most of the former Juventus man’s talents, without compromising his side’s balance.

Pogba scored and set up another in France’s 3-1 friendly win against hosts Russia last month, and Desailly, who was speaking following Hublot’s Match of Friendship in Dubai, believes his positive display came from being played on the right of a midfield three.

“Where do you put Pogba? Again as a playmaker, or as a holding midfielder? Is he a defensive midfielder in two, with a three, or just with [N’Golo] Kante who will stay?,” Desailly told Sport360.

“I think on the right of the midfield three is best. Because you cannot count on him for 90 minutes of defending. He has the pretension, and everyone sees it, that he can attack, he can create and he can go forward. You feel restricted when you get him in a defensive position.”

Marcel Desailly featured in Hublot's Match of Friendship at Dubai Opera

Marcel Desailly featured in Hublot’s Match of Friendship at Dubai Opera.

20 years on from France’s World Cup success on home soil, Desailly believes Deschamps’ side have the quality to replicate that feat, but insists they won’t be the favourites in Russia this summer.

“I think it’s quite difficult for Didier to put down his tactical setup, but once he has done that, France will probably show great ability,” Desailly added.

“They can (win the World Cup) but there are teams that are better than them at the moment. The Brazilian, Spanish and German teams, especially the Brazilians, collectively and individually they are much better.”

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Young England squad 'excited' ahead of World Cup, says Marcus Rashford

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Marcus Rashford's place in England's World Cup squad is more or less guaranteed.

Marcus Rashford has described the England camp as a “massive bundle of excitement” ahead of the World Cup.

The finals in Russia are coming into sharper focus as club matters conclude, with the Three Lions’ Group G opener against Tunisia in Volgograd now just 68 days away.

Rashford is all but certain to be in the squad announced by Gareth Southgate in mid-May and the Manchester United forward cannot wait to represent his country in a World Cup for the first time.

“The England squad’s quite young, so there’s just a massive bundle of excitement buzzing around,” he said.

“Everyone’s excited to just go there and do as best as we can.

“(Gareth Southgate has) brought a massive amount of freedom, especially to the forward players, but it’s within a structure.

“So, we have a baseline and we know what we’re doing.

“We know what our individual roles are, and we still need to learn and develop that.

“But yeah, it’s enjoyable playing under him and we just hope for the most success possible, in the World Cup.”

Rashford claims not to have yet dreamt about reaching the Luzhniki finale, but the forward does have silverware in his mind as United’s season ends.

The Red Devils have a Wembley semi-final against Tottenham to look forward to next weekend and the 20-year-old is determined to go on to win the competition, as well as sealing second spot in the Premier League.

“I think our main focus now is finishing second in the league,” Rashford told Inside United. “That’s important for us and winning the FA Cup.

“If those two things happen, then we’ve took what we can out of the season at this point.
“They’re the most important things.”

Success on a collective and individual basis is Rashford’s focus right now.

Nobody has made more appearances for United since Mourinho’s appointment, but reports suggest the forward is unhappy at the lack of Premier League minutes he has been getting.

Rashford, who has made 97 appearances as either starter of substitute under the Portuguese, appears to be looking at the bigger picture.

“I wasn’t aware of (the statistic that I played most for Mourinho) before I saw it and it’s something to be proud of,” he said.

“But we always want more, and we always want to show progression individually and as a team, so the numbers don’t really matter as much as the results do to me.”

Provided by PA Sport

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