Before the 32 qualified teams being drawn into eight groups for the finals, Pele, presented as a special ambassador, was asked on the stage by the host whether he believes Brazil could make to the final.
I think we will be in the final, Pele on Brazil
"I think we will be in the final," Xinhua quoted 73-year-old Pele, the living legend, as saying.
He followed up to remember how his father cried after Brazil suffered the shock loss to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final. "I can always remember my father crying after we lost the World Cup to Uruguay in 1950."
Just eight years later the then 17-year-old Pele helped Brazil to win their first of five titles so far.
"So I don't want my kids to see me crying! I hope we will win!" said Pele.