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I always get to the final, says Roberto Carlos

Written by: Staff

KOENIGSTEIN, Germany, June 7 (Reuters) Brazil left back Roberto Carlos always gets to the final when he plays for his country and expects to maintain his record at the World Cup.

The Real Madrid player, in typically self-confident mood, also said the world champions would scare Croatia, their first opponents, as they defend the trophy they won four years ago.

''Our biggest problem is with ourselves,'' he told reporters before training today.

''If we think it's going to be easy to win this competition, we'll have trouble. If we take it seriously, we are not going to encounter too many difficulties.'' ''We always take it seriously, we never start off thinking we're the best in the world,'' he added.

''In the last 12 years of football, World Cup and all that, I've always got to the final. It's important to keep this mentality of always wanting to get to the final.'' ''In all the competitions I've taken part in, Brazil has always done well,'' he added. ''We've conquered the titles, we lost one Copa America and one World Cup in 1998, but we were still in the top three which was important.'' Roberto Carlos, famous for his booming left-foot shots, made his full international debut in a friendly against the United States in 1992.

Since then, he has taken part in the Copa America in 1995, when Brazil lost on penalties to hosts Uruguay in the final, and 1997 and 1999, when Brazil won.

After missing the 1994 World Cup when he was overlooked in favour of Branco, Roberto Carlos took part in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, ending up as a beaten finalist and a world champion respectively.

He made one appearance in the Confederations Cup and was again on the winning side as Brazil won the trophy in 1997 in Saudi Arabia.

He also played in the Olympic Games in 1996, when Brazil suffered a shattering 4-3 golden goal defeat by Nigeria in the final after having led 3-1.

Brazil take on Croatia in Berlin in June 13, before facing Australia and Japan in their first-round Group F.

Asked if Croatia would cause trouble for Brazil, Robert Carlos said: ''I don't think so. If we play seriously, if we take the game to them from the start, they will get frightened.'' REUTERS PM BST2223

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