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Gomes all smiles in SA

Heurelho Gomes is relishing being back in the Brazil squad - not least with the World Cup only a year away.

Heurelho Gomes is relishing being back in the Brazil squad - not least with the World Cup only a year away.

Our popular number one is one of three goalkeepers in the squad for the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa alongside Inter's Julio Cesar and Victor of Brazilian side Gremio.

Gomes - who received so much praise for how he turned around his form last season - has been an unused substitute so far with Cesar in goal as Brazil booked a place in the semi-finals of the tournament with wins over Egypt and USA.

He might get a taste of the action when Brazil take on World champions Italy in their final group game on Sunday but whether or not that's the case, Gomes is clearly delighted to be back in the fold with South Africa 2010 drawing ever closer.

"It's a very good time for me," he told us from South Africa. "I'm back in the squad after a long time, my last cap was in 2006 and when you are back in the squad a year before the World Cup it's good news. I'm enjoying my time here. I'm very happy.

"Everyone has been great, the players have all welcomed me back - I think they like me here!"

Gomes underlined that Brazil are determined to win the tournament that brings together the winners of FIFA's confederations (CAF, UEFA, CONMEBOL, AFC, OFC, CONCACAF - Spain are representing UEFA) plus World Cup winners Italy and hosts South Africa.

"It's so important because it's the last competition before the World Cup," added Gomes. "I won it with Brazil in 2006 and I know how important it is - for the team, for me, for everyone in Brazil.

"Every team wants to beat Brazil and it can be difficult.

"Take our first game against Egypt. In the first half we played well but in the second half Egypt played very well, perhaps they won't play another game like it!

"It's normal because we have won five World Cups and teams want to beat us but at the same time, Brazil have to win every game as well."

Meanwhile, Gomes has been impressed with South Africa as they build up to the 2010 finals. "The people are friendly, the fans love their football and welcome every team. They will make a very good World Cup in 2010."