The captain of Brazil's national soccer team said in an interview with an Italian sports daily that a gold medal at the Summer Olympics could serve as a springboard to success at the 2014 World Cup, which the South American country will host.
Grabbing first place in London would allow the national squad to "arrive at the World Cup even stronger," defenseman Thiago Silva said in remarks published Saturday by La Gazzetta dello Sport, in which he said his role as skipper is "a privilege and a very big responsibility."
"In the past four friendlies, we've shown we're in good shape despite the defeats against Mexico and Argentina. I was at the 2008 Games (in Beijing). I wasn't a starter but I remember the match we lost to Argentina. They were pulling our leg from the bench. Now we'll do everything possible to turn the situation around," he said.
Silva also cited one member of Brazil's squad, 21-year-old defensive midfielder Romulo Borges Monteiro, as someone to watch in the future, saying he is a player with "a lot of personality and quality."
The 27-year-old A.C. Milan star is one of the only veterans on the Brazilian national team since, based on rules first instituted for the 1992 Games, squads may only suit up three players over the age of 23.
The men's soccer tournament at the 2012 Games will be held in London and five other British cities from July 26 to Aug. 11. EFE