RIO DE JANEIRO: Sifting through the ruins of Brazil’s World Cup campaign, star player Neymar says his team strove hard for glory, but other countries have moved ahead and they must catch up.
While refusing to pin the blame on former handler Luiz Felipe Scolari, Neymar also warned young players to beware the damage some coaches could do to young players’ development.
In an exclusive interview with Globo television broadcast on Sunday, the 22-year-old said Brazil deserved at best seven out of ten for a Cup showing which ended with a 7-1 semi-final mauling by champions Germany.
Asked why Brazil failed, Neymar said there were simply things that could not be explained.
“We cried because it was our childhood dream [to win it] and had fought hard to get to where we were,” said Neymar.
He added he believed he would have chosen the same 23 players as Scolari for the roster — but insisted Brazil must realize it has fallen down the pecking order and has no automatic right to success.
“I think Brazilian football is behind. It’s behind Germany and Spain. We’ve slipped behind and we have to be man enough to admit it.”
The Barcelona star was forced to watch the semi-final from his coastal home in Sao Paulo state after he suffered a fractured vertebra during the quarter-final with Colombia.
Forced onto the sidelines, Neymar said there was no particular reason why Brazil’s campaign suddenly crashed around them.
“There was no particular mistake made by the Selecao,” he said. “I am not someone who understands a huge amount about tactics.”
And he refused to blame Scolari, Brazil’s 2002 World Cup-winning coach who resigned after the tournament.
“I had a leader [who was] one of the best Brazilian coaches I’ve had.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2014.
Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.