Brazil are hoping a fully fit and firing Neymar, and a well-balanced squad around him, will allow the five-time winners to live up to their status as World Cup favourites in Qatar.

They begin their bid to win a record-extending sixth title on Thursday when they play a dangerous Serbia side -- and the world's most expensive player is coming into the tournament in ominous form.

In 2014, Neymar's World Cup ended in agony as he suffered a fractured bone in his back in the quarter-final win over Colombia before the hosts were humiliated by Germany in the semi-finals, losing 7-1.

Four years later Neymar raced to recover from injury in time for the tournament in Russia, but Brazil never hit the expected heights before losing to Belgium in the last eight.

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