RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari insisted his side were still a work in progress despite their Confederations Cup masterclass against world champions Spain.
Scolari, the architect of Brazil’s last World Cup victory in 2002, was the proudest man in the Maracana on Sunday as his remodelled team overwhelmed the fabled Spaniards 3-0 courtesy two goals from Fred and a sublime effort from Neymar.
With the World Cup on Brazilian soil less than 12 months away, it was a result which will infuse Scolari’s team with belief that a record sixth World Cup crown is there for the taking if all goes to plan next year.
A delighted Scolari, however, was more circumspect when asked to discuss the significance of his team’s mesmerising display.
“We are still not a team that is complete, we know that we have a good group but we still have to prove a lot,” said Scolari, reappointed seven months ago for a second stint in charge.
“But today, we embarked on the path to 2014.
“It was fantastic to hear the crowd singing ‘the champions are back’ but a long path stretches ahead of us. Yet I am sure people will now respect Brazil a little more.”
Almost as important as the level of performance on the pitch was the re-bonding of Brazil’s team with their fans, said Scolari.
“My team plays from the bottom of their hearts. We will now be working with a little bit more trust knowing we have the capacity and maybe rise above the level even of today’s match.”
“I think we are improving, there is more trust and the supporters give it back and that is very nice. When we come together we become strong.”
Meanwhile, it is now back to the drawing board for Vicente del Bosque and company. The Spain coach admitted Brazil were far better on the day.
“They deserved it, and sometimes it is important to lose,” said Del Bosque. “Of course we are not happy but we must analyse where we went wrong. Yet our record is cause for optimism ... we have good players and a defined style of play.
“You don’t just change all that on the back of one defeat, deserved as it was.”
Italy take bronze
Italy and Juventus goal-keeper Gianluigi Buffon was the difference as the Azzurri took third place after beating Uruguay 3-2 on penalties, the pair having been locked at 2-2 following extra time in Salvador.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2013.
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