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 January 22, 2002 | 1510 IST
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Portugal only real test for Brazil - Pele

Portugal will be the only real test for Brazil as they warm up for the World Cup according to Pele.

"The friendly against Portugal will be the big test. I have already tipped this team, with the likes of Luis Figo and Rui Costa, as one of the strongest contenders to win the World Cup," Pele said in a column in O Globo newspaper.

He was critical earlier of Brazil's decision to play Bolivia and Colombia in the build-up to the 2002 World Cup finals in South Korea and Japan.

"Neither team will take part in the World Cup, and Brazil already knows more than enough about both of them," he said.

Brazil will also play against Saudi Arabia and a Catalan XI in Barcelona and one more match still to be determined before the World Cup kicks off in May.

However Pele said the Brazilian team should prepare for the tournament with matches at home.

"In my time, we played preparatory fixtures against (Brazilian) state and club teams, and they were very challenging games," he argued.

Brazil are in group C for the first phase of the World Cup, along with Costa Rica, Turkey and China.

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