Winning ugly no issue for anxious Brazil

FIT TO PLAY: Brazilian star Neymar says he will be ready for the Colombians in today's quarter-final clash.


    Jul 04, 2014

    Winning ugly no issue for anxious Brazil


    BRAZIL striker Neymar admitted he is happy to win ugly in order to take another step towards delivering his country's sixth World Cup on home soil against Colombia in Fortaleza today.

    La Selecao have been criticised for some of their performances on the way to the quarter-finals, most notably in squeezing past Chile on penalties.

    "You can't always enjoy yourself and win 4-0 or 5-0. Football nowadays is so difficult, so even, that the team who is most committed on the pitch ends up winning," said the Barcelona man on Wednesday.

    "I don't want a show. That's the last thing we are trying to do... We are here to run to the end, until we are tired, and come out as winners."

    Neymar fell to the ground in tears as Chile's Gonzalo Jara missed the decisive spot-kick in the shootout in Belo Horizonte.

    Worried that carrying the expectations of 200 million Brazilians is becoming too much for his squad, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari called the team's sports psychologist Regina Brandao in for an extra session with the players on Tuesday.

    And Neymar said the sessions were having the desired effect.

    "I had never done anything like it before and I am quite enjoying it," added the 22-year-old.

    "It is not only us, in football, who are surrounded by emotion every day and need psychologists. I think it could do every person good, to make one more relaxed."

    He also insisted he will be fully-fit to face the Colombians, despite suffering thigh and knee injuries against Chile.

    One of the major concerns for Scolari has been the lack of support for Neymar in attack as he has scored half of Brazil's eight goals so far, while other forwards Fred, Jo and Hulk have struggled to make an impact.

    But Neymar claimed the team is not overdependent on him.

    "I don't feel overburdened either on the pitch or off it. I have teammates who help me by winning the ball back, scoring goals, setting them up," he said.

    Scolari will be forced into at least one change from the side that faced Chile as Luis Gustavo has been suspended so Tottenham Hotspur's Paulinho is expected to come back into the side.

    Gustavo's absence is even more critical for the hosts, given the sensational form of the tournament's top goalscorer, Colombia's James Rodriguez.

    The Monaco playmaker has taken on the mantle of his side's focal point with ease in the absence of the injured Radamel Falcao, with five goals in four games.

    Rodriguez believes Brazil should be just as worried about him as his countrymen should be about Neymar.

    "We're facing a very tough rival, which has great players, but they also have to think that we have great players."

    History, though, is against the Colombians as they have beaten Brazil only twice in 25 previous meetings and only once in a competitive fixture at the 1991 Copa America.