Lucio - England are contenders
Brazil captain Lucio has claimed that England are amongst the strongest teams to win the World Cup.
By Mike Barton
Last Updated: 01/06/10 9:57am
Brazil captain Lucio has claimed that there are no clear favourites to win the World Cup, but conceded that England will be strong contenders for the trophy.
The Inter Milan centre-back will be looking to cap an outstanding personal season after winning the Serie A title, Coppa Italia and the UEFA Champions League under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, who moved to Real Madrid on Monday.
Lucio has been a colossus at the back in his first season at the San Siro, winning rave reviews for his partnership with Argentine defender Walter Samuel and linking him with a possible continuation of his time under Mourinho with a move to the Bernabeu.
The 32-year-old enters his third finals already with a medal to his name after winning the 2002 tournament and was part of the team that beat England 2-1 in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
However, despite being among the frontrunners to bring the trophy home, he dismissed the prospect of his team heading into the tournament as the outstanding candidate.
"Brazil have done a very good job of preparation," he said.
"We won the America's Cup, Confederations Cup and we finished in first place in the South American qualifiers for the World Cup. But this does not mean we are favourites.
"Actually, I don't see any favourites. There are many strong teams like Spain, Argentina, England, Italy, many others and also Brazil."
Brazil are in arguably the toughest group of the tournament alongside Portugal and Ivory Coast, as well as North Korea, with Lucio set to match up against Chelsea striker Didier Drogba for the Ivorians, who he got the better of in the Champions League for the Nerazzurri.
"He is such a great player," Lucio said of Drogba.
"In England, the style and the quality of his Chelsea team-mates are very helpful.
"For Ivory Coast he must play differently."