Zico is setting very modest goals for the Japanese national team in this summer's World Cup in Germany - although that is perhaps not surprising considering the countries his side will have to face in the first round of the competition. Japan must play Australia, Croatia and, ironically, his compatriots from Brazil, the reigning world champions, if they are to progress from group F to the knockout stages of the competition that they jointly hosted four years ago with South Korea. And Zico, who played in three World Cups but never lifted the coveted trophy, expects his team to be scrapping it out for the second qualifying place. 'We are in a very difficult situation in this World Cup because we are in the group with the favourites to win the tournament,' said 53-year-old Zico, who will step down as coach after the tournament. 'When you have Brazil in your group, you know that you will be fighting it out with the other two teams to advance. I would say that each of us has a 33 per cent chance of going through, but in soccer you can never tell what is going to happen and it will be the little mistakes that make the difference. 'But I am very confident in this team and I believe that we can win all three matches - just as we could lose all three - but we are going to Germany full of confidence.' Zico singled out the impact Dutchman Guus Hiddink has had on the Australian team since he took over last July and admitted to being 'very concerned' about facing players of the calibre of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka. Croatia kept six clean sheets in their 10 qualifying matches and their defence is likely to be hard to breach, while Brazil's pedigree speaks for itself. 'Our objective is to get to the next phase,' Zico said. 'In the first round, we can play in a more relaxed way because if things go wrong there is another chance, but teams are much more nervous in the second phase because if you lose you are going home. 'I hope that we can make it through to the final four teams,' he added. Zico said he would be taking advantage of the skills and knowledge that his European-based players have picked up - such as Hidetoshi Nakata, who is presently on loan at Bolton Wanderers from Italy's Fiorientina, and Junichi Inamoto at West Bromwich Albion - although he admitted that his match preparations had been hindered because overseas players were not always able to attend training sessions. It was just one of 'many problems' in the run up to the World Cup, he said, that included earthquakes and playing a qualifying match in Bangkok in an empty stadium against North Korea, as well as the ugly scenes in China when Japan beat the host nation to lift the Asian Cup in August 2004. A typhoon struck shortly before Japan were to play one of their qualifying matches, so he arranged for the ballroom of their hotel to be emptied of all the trappings of a wedding so his players could train. Denying press reports that he was in discussions with the authorities in South Africa for the position of coach, Zico admitted that he would like to coach at club level in Europe one day, but said: 'Right now, I am concentrating solely on this World Cup and Japan.'