Brazil focused on players' fitness ahead of WCup

CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil's players are focusing purely on fitness work and conditioning as they begin preparations for the World Cup.

The squad has been undergoing physical tests since players reported for national-team duty in the southern city of Curitiba on Friday, and has not yet practiced on the field.

The squad will stay in Brazil until Wednesday, when it heads to South Africa for the final stage of preparations ahead of its first match at the World Cup — against North Korea on June 15.

Julio Cesar, Maicon and Lucio, who helped Inter Milan win the Champions League on Saturday, are not expected to report to the Brazil squad until Thursday.

"We believe the players will reach their peak after the third match," Brazil trainer Paulo Paixao said. "That's usually when the team as a whole will reach our goal in terms of physical condition."

Brazil, seeking its sixth world title, will face Ivory Coast in its second Group G match and Portugal in the third.

The team will continue its preparation in Johannesburg, where it is expected to play two warmup matches with opponents yet to be announced.