Fortaleza: Brazil striker Neymar has admitted he is happy to win ugly as he looks 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 less convincing performances on route to the quarter-finals, most notably in squeezing past Chile on penalties in the Last 16.
“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. “I don’t want a show. That’s the last thing we are trying to do. We are not necessarily here to produce a spectacle. 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 with teammates Julio Cesar and captain Thiago Silva also seen to cry in relief as much as joy.
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.”
Neymar fully fit
Neymar 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 attacking areas as he has scored half of his side’s eight goals, whilst other forwards Fred, Jo and Hulk have struggled to make an impact. Neymar, though, claimed the team isn’t overdependent on him.
Fortaleza: Ahead of their clash with Brazil, Colombia star James Rodriguez has said that the hosts 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,” the tournament’s top goalscorer said. Rodriguez’s teammate Carlos Sanchez added that they would not be afraid of Brazil tonight.