World Cup

Wednesday 20 August 2014

'We have one hand on the Cup' - Scolari comes out swinging after Brazilian greats slam host's chances

Published 03/07/2014 | 21:34

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Brazil's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari talks with Neymar
Brazil's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari talks with Neymar

An aggressive Luiz Felipe Scolari came out fighting in Fortaleza, insisting Brazil remain firmly on course for World Cup glory.

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Brazil go into their World Cup quarter-final against Colombia at the Estadio Castelao on the back of a wave of negativity.

Brazil were criticised for some unconvincing play in the group stages and they only scraped through to the last eight after a nail-biting penalty shootout win against Chile.

But Scolari insisted his team were destined to win the World Cup before the tournament started and he is sticking by his words.

"Do we have one hand on the Cup? Yes," the Brazilian said in a fiery press conference on the eve of the match.

"Don't forget those statements (I made about winning the World Cup before it started). They were all fantastic. Those statements could not be any different now.

"We are going on to the fifth step now. There are seven in total."

Brazil go into the match with criticism from some of the nation's biggest names still ringing in their ears.

Zico and Carlos Alberto have led the criticism of Scolari's squad in recent days.

Of particular annoyance to the two greats is the outpouring of emotion shown by the current squad at this World Cup.

Neymar, Julio Cesar and David Luiz all broke down in tears after the shootout win against Chile while Neymar also looked overcome with emotion when he sang the national anthem earlier in the tournament.

Carlos Alberto, Brazil's 1970 World Cup-winning captain, said recently: "The team is crying when they're singing the national anthem, when they get hurt, when they take penalties. Stop crying!"

Brazil's psychologist Regina Brandao visited the squad at their Teresopolis base on Tuesday, but Scolari denied that was anything out of the ordinary.

"It was scheduled and organised. Please stop thinking (otherwise)," the former Chelsea manager snapped when asked about Brandao's visit.

"I admire psychologists. She has participated in a very nice way. That's it. The players love to talk. She isn't even paid anything to do this."

Press Association

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