Hulk: Scolari maintains Brazil's unity

The 27-year-old believes that the coach's influence has led to the team's recent success, while he also thinks Uruguay and Belgium are the sides to watch at the World Cup

Brazil international Hulk has praised coach Luiz Felipe Scolari for his influence in creating a united team.

The Zenit St Petersburg forward believes that his country's Confederations Cup success was largely down to the fact that the squad are a "tight-knit group", which he believes has stemmed from Scolari's positive leadership.

"This group of lads is brilliant," he told Fifa's official website. "The Selecao squad have always been a great bunch, ever since I was first called up.

"We needed to go through a decisive period, really show our strength and, by doing that, form a closed, tight-knit group – which was what happened at the Confederations Cup.

"And Scolari has been able to keep things that way. There haven’t been many changes made since then and we all still get on really well: there’s never any trouble.

"It’s not so much about what he says, I thinks it’s more down to the way he is. He welcomes the players in such a way that it makes everybody feel right at home and know what’s expected of them, be they experienced players or new arrivals.

"For example, he asks us all to come down for lunch and dinner at the same time, and that we all stay until everyone’s finished. That ends up becoming a habit and it does a lot of good.

"They’re just day-to-day things but they’re vital in helping everyone bond within the squad. Felipao, better than anyone else, knows how to strengthen that sense of unity."

The 27-year-old also gave his thoughts on which teams will be successful at this summer’s World Cup, with Uruguay and Belgium being his surprise picks to do well at the tournament.

"At a World Cup it’s hard to look much further than the traditional big-name teams: history backs that up," he added.

"Therefore, of course, you have Brazil, Spain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Argentina ... all of whom are great teams and usually do well.

"Aside from the usual suspects, I think that Uruguay and Belgium are both capable of springing a surprise."