A whopping 68 percent of Brazilians believe their team’s name is on the World Cup — and coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is the man to deliver it.
With Brazil’s tournament opening clash with Croatia looming on Thursday, a survey by polling firm Datafolha underscored the sense of national expectation surrounding Scolari’s squad.
An overwhelming majority of Brazilians expect the country’s players to clinch a sixth World Cup crown next month.
Five percent were betting on Germany, while just three percent liked arch-rivals Argentina and reigning champions Spain.
The poll also revealed a high level of confidence in Scolari to mastermind the win, with 68 percent rating his performance as great or good.
Fourteen percent said it was average and two percent said it was bad or terrible.
Sixteen percent did not respond.
The rating is better than the 51 percent Scolari had in June 2002, in the middle of the World Cup in Japan and South Korea — which Brazil went on to win, its fifth world title.
Scolari returned to coach the national team in 2012, replacing Mano Menezes.
During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, then-coach Dunga had a 49-percent approval rating.
Brazil were eliminated from that edition of the tournament in the quarter-finals.
The World Cup kicks off Thursday in Sao Paulo against a backdrop of strikes, protests and widespread frustration over Brazil’s economic slow-down and the more than $11 billion being spent on the tournament.
Datafolha said 54 percent of Brazilians believe the Cup will do the country more harm than good, while 36 percent say the opposite.
If protests erupt during the World Cup, as they did during last year’s Confederations Cup, 65 percent of Brazilians say they will be ashamed, 25 percent say they will be proud and 10 percent say they don’t know, the pollster found.