Football: Pele hoping Brazil can catch Spain, Germany

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - The Brazil football team still have a way to go to catch up with the likes of Spain and Germany, despite toying with France in a 3-0 victory at the weekend, according to the legendary Pele.

This month, the Selecao slumped to 22nd in the Fifa world rankings - their lowest position - although they have not played a competitive match since their Copa America quarter-final defeat to Paraguay on penalties two years ago.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's side showed what they were capable of against Les Bleus but Pele said he still felt they were behind the top two in the world, with just over 12 months to go to the start of the World Cup.

"The victory against France was very important for us... we saw the strength of the Brazilian team. That creates impetus and makes the people confident," he told German sports news agency SID, an AFP subsidiary.

"Today, with a year to go to the World Cup, Spain and Germany are the best teams. I hope Brazil will catch up with them."

The 72-year-old, who won the World Cup with the Selecao in 1958, 1962 and 1970, meanwhile admitted he was worried about the delays in the completion of vital infrastructure for the global footballing showpiece.

"We're a bit worried about the stadiums and the infrastructure," he added. "The government now realises it took too long to intervene and that there are financial difficulties.

"But the problems are being resolved bit by bit and everything is returning to normal."

With the Confederations Cup due to begin this weekend, the World Cup next year and the Rio Olympics in 2016, Pele says Brazil must prove it can host such competitions.

"We have three big events: the Confederations Cup, the World Cup and the Olympics. It's a great chance to show that Brazil is capable of organising these and respecting its commitments," said Pele.

In 2007, Rio successfully hosted the Pan-American Games, which helped in their bid to win the right to host both the World Cup and the Olympics.

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