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Paulinho ready to take world stage

Posted on 5 June 2014  - 18:00

Paulinho believes home advantage will play a big part as Brazil proudly kick-off the World Cup on Thursday.

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The five-times world champions take on Croatia in a fascinating tournament opener at the Arena de Sao Paolo. Kick-off is 9pm UK time.

Now capped 25 times, scoring five goals, Paulinho says it would be a dream to step out on home soil - he was born in the Sao Paolo area.

"It’s a great source of pride to have a World Cup in my country, of course, and a huge goal for all of us," said the midfielder, who scored eight goals in 37 appearances for us in all competitions last season.

"It’s a goal and a dream for me and my family that I play in a World Cup. So I know it would make them very proud.

"We know that there will be a lot of pressure on us but all the players who are going to the World Cup understand the responsibility and understand the importance of playing a World Cup in Brazil.

"In fact I think that it’s a positive thing, in our favour, playing in our own country in front of our fans. I think that can be important for us.

"We’re hoping that Brazil perform really well as we aim for yet another title."

Paulinho will also face Mexico and Benoit Assou-Ekotto's Cameroon in Group A and he and Benoit are two of seven Spurs players at the tournament.

We have a trio of players - Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen - in the Belgium squad. They are up against Nabil Bentaleb's Algeria, Russia and South Korea in Group H.

The Spurs contingent is completed by Hugo Lloris, who will captain France against Switzerland, Honduras and Ecuador in Group E.