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SPAIN 2014 - Team in focus: Brazil

Marcelo Huertas (BRA)
Marcelo Huertas (BRA) - 2013 FIBA Americas Championship

RIO DE JANEIRO (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - The 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup is just around the corner. In the lead-up to the biggest international basketball event, we take an individual look at all 24 teams.

Country: Brazil
FIBA bwin Ranking Men:
No. 10
Last participation in the FIBA Basketball World Cup: 2010 (3 wins, 3 defeats; 9th place)
Best result in the history of the FIBA Basketball World Cup:
two-time world champions (1959 and 1963)
Result in qualifying tournament for 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup: 9th place at 2013 FIBA Americas Championship (0 wins 4 defeats; Brazil received wild card).

The feel-good factor has returned in Brazilian hoops.

One year removed from a nightmare FIBA Americas Championship in Venezuela, the Brazilians find themselves in the 24-team FIBA Basketball World Cup after receiving one of four wild cards.

They will travel to Granada, Spain, with one thing in mind: to reach the podium.

Unlike last summer when Brazil lost all four of their games in Caracas, the squad is loaded with the quality.

Marcelo Machado has come out of international retirement to play again.

He and fellow returnee Marcus Vieira, who was absent last summer, helped Flamengo capture a FIBA Americas League and Brazilian League double.

Their confidence is sky high.

The heavyweights from the NBA - Leandro Barbosa, Tiago Splitter, Nene and Anderson Varejao - are back after missing 2013 through injury.

Splitter has returned to the fray as a championship-winning center with the San Antonio Spurs.

There is also the starting point guard of the national team, Marcelinho Huertas, a player who carried Barcelona through difficult moments in 2013-14 and led them to the Spanish Liga Endesa crown.

Add experienced coach Ruben Magnano and the prospects look very bright for Brazil.

The front court is where Brazil should have a lot of success and especially with Splitter, a player who has blossomed into one of the best centers in international basketball.

Just four years ago, however, the Brazilians were also very talented but only managed to make it out of the Preliminary Round.

What might they have accomplished had they upset eventual tournament winners USA in the group?

The United States edged that nail-biting encounter, 70-68, and then finished first in the pool to claim an easier path to the medals.

Brazil's opponent in the Round of 16 was their nemesis, Argentina, and a 37-point performance by Luis Scola ruined their dreams in a 93-89 defeat for Magnano's side.

The defeat was so painful that Huertas left the court in tears.

Experience is vital in international basketball and Brazil have plenty of it.

They also possess a frontline that will take a backseat to no team.

Barbosa is back at full strength after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and needs to be a source of inspiration on both ends of the court for the Brazilians.

An extremely tough Group A that also has hosts Spain, Serbia, France, Iran and Egypt will be a significant test for the Brazilians, but they have plenty of cause for optimism.