Wednesday, 4th March 2015

Scolari: Brazil still has "one hand" on World Cup

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Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has reiterated his bold assertion that Brazil "has one hand" on the World Cup trophy ahead of Friday's quarterfinal clash with Colombia.

The Brazil coach and his assistant, Carlos Alberto Parreir, made the claim before the tournament, insisting the Selecao were deserved favorites to win the tournament for a sixth time on home soil.

"It [the hand] still there," Scolari said at a press conference on Thursday. "The players continue thinking the same way. Parreira happily made those comments and nothing has changed. We are now at the fifth stage. There are seven."

Scolari denied claims that several of his players had shown a psychological weakness by crying before last Saturday's penalty shootout against Chile.

Captain Thiago Silva, who also fielded questions from journalists, was similarly pressed by reporters seeking an explanation for his decision to watch the shootout alone on the sidelines.

"I asked God not to be selected," Silva said. "I missed two of my last three and Scolari asked me to be the sixth. I said no. I asked to be last on the list, behind Julio Cesar."

Before the tournament began, Scolari warned of the threat posed by Chile. But he now believes Colombia are a better team than Jorge Sampaoli's side.

"Chile have strength and play with a spirit. Colombia are more technical," Scolari said ahead of the match at Fortaleza's Arena Castelao.

"So there's no war. Our wars are against Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. We don't have anything against Colombia and that makes them very happy matches, with no great rivalry. And when you don't have that war, our players feel more at ease." FORTALEZA, Brazil, July 3 (Xinhua)



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