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The Former Brazil captain played in three consecutive World Cup finals, winning twice including lifting the World Cup trophy as captain in 2002.
Almost 20 years on the marauding right-back, now a global ambassador for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, reflects on his incredible experiences at the FIFA World Cup during this month’s FIFA World Cup 2022 magazine show - which will air on SBS this Sunday from 4:30 pm (AEDT)
Despite going on to become the most capped Brazilian men’s player of all time, Cafu struggled to break into the Selecao at the start of his career.
But a brilliant cameo performance in the world cup final changed his career forever.
“I always sort out this opportunity and trained hard to make this chance come my way and I played in the 1994 World Cup final against Italy,” Cafu said.
When Parreira (1994 Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira) looked back at me and asked ‘Cafu are you ready, I was like me, I am more than ready
“I couldn’t wait to play, and I had to be prepared.”
And prepared he was, delivering dangerous crosses into the box from the right flank and terrorising the Italian defence as Brazil went on to win the World Cup in thrilling fashion after a nail-biting penalty shootout.
Four years later in France at the 1998 World Cup, Brazil were in the final again and Cafu was now one of the team's established stars.
The result did not go Brazil’s way that night as hosts France stunned the favourites Brazil in a controversial World Cup final.
Cafu revealed the 2002 tournament was about redemption and making up for the disappointing defeat of four years earlier.
Despite their determination, Cafu revealed he and his teammates couldn’t believe they had been able to qualify for the biggest game in world football again.
“We came into the game in disbelief we had qualified for a third consecutive World Cup final,” Cafu said
“No other country had done this and for us, it was a matter of pride."
This time Cafu was the Brazil captain and he revealed he was able to use his experiences playing at three world cups helped him inspire the team going into the final against Germany in 2002.
“Having the experience of both winning and losing a world cup, I told the younger players that they had no idea how good it was to win," he said.
"I told them they just had to get themselves in a world cup winning mindset and success would follow.”
It proved to be the right advice with brazil defeating Germany and Cafu lifting the World Cup trophy.
He hopes to see similar success for Brazil in Qatar and Cafu is confident that they can end their 20-year world cup title drought.
Brazil will always be a very competitive team on the world stage because as a country we live and breathe football,” Cafu said.
What the current brazil team needs is a long streak of great games and great results and I think this will lead to great achievements once again.
The latest episode of the FIFA World Cup 2022 magazine show airs this Sunday, October 10 at 4:30 pm (AEDT) on SBS. Following the episode airing, you can also catch up via SBS On Demand or at the top of this article.