Sunday 25 February 2018

Neymar declares himself 'emotionally ready and physically fit' for Colombia game

Neymar smiles during a news conference in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janeiro
Neymar smiles during a news conference in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janeiro

Rodrigo Viga Gaier

Brazil striker Neymar says he is emotionally ready and physically fit for Friday's World Cup quarter-final with Colombia in Fortaleza.

However he warned his compatriots not to expect a feast of goals in what promises to be a tough game for the hosts.

"It's not always a party, a show, a victory by four or five goals to nothing. Soccer today is very even, very competitive," Neymar told reporters.

"If we just have to defend and win by one goal, we will do that. We are here to win."

Favourites to win the World Cup for a sixth time, Brazil struggled to advance to the quarter finals with a lackluster performance that relied heavily on Neymar's skills.

The hosts scraped past Chile in a penalty shootout on Saturday and have scored only eight goals in four games, four from Neymar.

The striker said he had no lingering pain from the knee and thigh injuries he suffered in the bruising encounter with Chile.

He praised Colombia's James Rodriguez, who has scored one more goal than the Brazilian so far, but added: "With all due respect, I hope his moment will end now."

Neymar also brushed aside concerns about the emotional condition of Brazil's players coping with the pressure of winning at home.

Several were in tears after the close scrape with Chile, prompting coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to call a team psychologist to their training camp outside Rio.

"Nobody has an emotional problem, everything is OK. We are all ready to face Colombia," said Neymar.

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