But when the tournament rolled around, things suddenly clicked into place. Brazil emerged from their decade-long slumber on the back of blossoming team spirit, riding the tidal wave of embattled patriotism that was emanating from the country's streets. Neymar and Paulinho truly arrived on the international stage, helping the Seleção to a heartening victory over Spain in the final.
The worry for Scolari must be that his side peaked too soon. The staccato rhythm of international football is such that maintaining momentum for 12 months is nigh-on impossible, and it is indeed hard to imagine things clicking into place quite so perfectly come June.
Read the rest of this piece on the Mirror website here, and read more entries in the fine WC100 series here.