We'll win with teamwork
If Brazil are to win the World Cup, they will have to do it the hard way, and probably with less samba than their previous five triumphs.
At the Estadio Itaquerao, which will host the opener between Brazil and Croatia tomorrow morning (Singapore time), 2002 World Cup winner Denilson told The New Paper he believes his country will finally lift the trophy on home soil.
Not through sheer creativity, but by being compact.
"In 2002, we had the likes of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos and Cafu who can win a match on their own," said Denilson, who was the world's most expensive player in 1998 when Real Betis paid 21.5 million euros ($36.4m) to sign him from his home club Sao Paulo.
Despite seeing his star wane after that World Cup victory, the 36-year-old, now clearly a pudgier version of that speedy stepover specialist of old, is still a fan favourite in his home state and smilingly obliged to every photo request from passers-by.
"Now, we have only one superstar in Neymar. We have begun to favour the physical game and we are producing more players, such as Hulk, who are more physical than technical," he added.
"But that's okay, because they work well as a team. I believe very strongly in Paulinho, a midfielder with great attacking qualities. Players like Hulk, Oscar and Fred could also make a name for themselves at this World Cup."
Despite his firm belief in the Selecao, Denilson, who does punditry work for Brazilian TV these days, knows full well the road to Rio is full of banana skins, as they could be waylaid by any of the previous winners.
In the second round, if they top Group A as expected, they could potentially meet either defending world champions Spain or 2010 finalists Holland.
It doesn't get easier in the quarter-finals, where they could meet either 2006 champions Italy or arch-nemesis Uruguay, who shocked the hosts in 1950, the last time the World Cup was held in Brazil.
If they pull through, perennial contenders Germany could lie in wait in the semi-finals, before the tantalising prospect of a final against Argentina looms.
Denilson said: "Argentina and Spain are among the favourites, while Italy are dangerous because they are often underestimated.
"Of all the 32 teams here, Germany are the most well prepared. The players and coach (Joachim Loew) have been together for a long time.
"Seven Bayern Munich players form the core of their first team - Bastian Schweinsteiger is a rock and Manuel Neuer is a fantastic goalkeeper - and Bayern have won almost everything in recent years so they have the winning mentality.
"But still I feel Brazil will win. I've worked with Felipao (Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari) in 2002 and he always inspired this positive response in the players to believe in our dream.
"We were so filled with joy and desire from the hotel to the team bus, I thought, 'We cannot lose the World Cup'.
"The current team will definitely feel the same way too and hopefully the outcome will be the same as 12 years ago."