Brazil's 23-man squad opens training for World Cup

CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil has begun training for the World Cup with most of its 23-man squad gathered in the southern city of Curitiba.

The five-time champions are the early favorites along with Spain to win the World Cup, which opens June 11 in South Africa.

All of Brazil's players were on hand Friday, except for three who were to play for Inter Milan on Saturday in the Champions League final — goalkeeper Julio Cesar, winger Maicon and defender Lucio.

Brazil coach Dunga, whose side finished first in South American qualifying, is sure to come under pressure for dropping the likes of Ronaldinho, Adriano, Ronaldo and young star Neymar from his squad.

But he does seem to have the players on his side.

"Dunga is an excellent coach and his coaching numbers reflect this," forward Robinho said. "He qualified Brazil with lots of room to spare.

"As for the final 23, there will always be critics. It is impossible to satsify everyone. But I think Brazil is equipped to win the title."

Two key players for Dunga, forward Luis Fabiano (Sevilla) and midfielder Kaka (Real Madrid), did not practice on Friday but are expected to participate next week. Both have been slowed by injuries.

Brazil had a disappointing World Cup in 2006, losing to France in the quarterfinals. Since Dunga has taken over, he has emphasized team play and defense and has repeatedly said that one or two star players would not be enough for Brazil to win a sixth World Cup.