Neymar Brazil
Neymar will be the key for Brazil at the World CupReuters

The one thing that can make or break you, especially in the biggest football tournament in the world is pressure. And pressure will be cranked up to the highest possible level on one team – the favourites and the hosts Brazil.

Luiz Felipe Scolari has been given the job of reigniting the magic of 2002 when he led Brazil to the World Cup title, with this year's team not exactly filled with "man how wonderful is he to watch" players.

Only Neymar really stands out in the typical Brazilian attack-minded player stakes, with the rest of Scolari's core players more hard workers than wonder men with the ball at their feet.

Yes, there is skill apart from Neymar of course, but the amount of pressure on the shoulders of the Barcelona man is enormous, and so far, on the international stage, he has shown to be more than capable of handling the pressure.

Awaiting Brazil, winners of the curtain raiser FIFA Confederations Cup last year, in Group A are Mexico, a familiar foe, Croatia, a team filled with talented individuals and capable of upsetting a few, and Cameroon, the mercurial African team.

Mexico, unlike Brazil, have been quite poor of late, qualifying in the playoff position in the CONCACAF zone by the skin of their teeth, before dispatching New Zealand in the playoff tie.

There has been constant change in the coaching position at the club, with the latest boss Miguel Herrera, given the task of helping his team find that way into the knockout stages at least.

Standing in their way, apart from the obvious Brazil, will be Croatia and Cameroon, with the side from Europe most likely their biggest competition.

Croatia are filled with a couple of delightful playmakers in Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, both of whom had brilliant seasons in the La Liga with Real Madrid and Sevilla respectively, leading their sides to European titles.

Luka Modric Croatia
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric could light up the World Cup along with compatriot Ivan RakiticReuters

Niko Kovac's men also have a star-studded forward lineup with Mario Mandzukic, Eduardo, Ivica Olic and Nikica Jelavic and they will be a threat to all three teams in the group. If Brazil are to falter in any of the group games, it is likely to be the one against Croatia, the opening game of the tournament on 12 June.

The final team in the reckoning is Cameroon, who are unpredictable at best, and the least favoured side to make it past the group stages.

In Samuel Eto'o they have a striker who has won pretty much everything that is there to win in the club stage, while the likes of Jean Makoun, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Stephane Mbia, Aurelien Chedjou and Alexandre Song will add a little more experience.

The likes of Nicolas Nkolou and Joel Matip have shown promise in Europe and will be expected to step up to the big stage, as Cameroon, who lost all three of their group games in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, will have to be at their absolute best, and hope some of the others drop their guard to stand a realistic chance of making it to the last 16.

Key men: Brazil: Neymar, because of the obvious reasons. He will be the go-to guy for the Selecao, and the one given the mantle of leading his side to the ultimate glory. Striker Fred will also be crucial to Brazil's fortunes. The hosts do not have a great selection if pure central strikers in their squad, but Fred has shown he is capable of doing the job and the former Lyon man will need to continue that good form when the real business begins.

Mexico: Javier Hernandez might not have had a great season at Manchester United, but that should mean that he is rested and raring to go at the World Cup. With no Carlos Vela, the onus will be on Chicharito to provide the goals.

Croatia: Cannot look past the gloriously gifted midfield pair of Rakitic and Modric. If the two players find their mojo, then even Brazil's hopes of winning Group A could be threatened.

Cameroon: Eto'o has been in the news more for bickering with the national federation and his teammates than for his exploits on the field in the international stage, and the Chelsea man will want to make sure it is his boots that do the talking over the next month.

Fixtures: 12 June: Brazil vs Croatia at Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo.

13 June: Mexico vs Cameroon at Estadio Das Nunas, Natal.

17 June: Brazil vs Mexico at Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza.

18 June: Cameroon vs Croatia at Arena Amazonia, Manaus.

23 June: Croatia vs Mexico at Arena Pernambuco, Recife.

23 June: Brazil vs Cameroon at Estadio Nacional, Brasilia.

Prediction: Brazil top the group with nine points, with Croatia second on six points, followed by Mexico and Cameroon.

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