'This is for Carlos Alberto'
Brazil coach Tite dedicates side’s 3-0 win over South American rivals Argentina to late legend; says he finished his pre-game speech with an image of Alberto’s exploits to enhance team spirit
Brazil’s Philippe (left), Neymar and Gabriel celebrate a goal against Argentina during the match in Brazil yesterday. Pics/Getty Images
Belo Horizonte (Brazil): Brazil coach Tite dedicated his side’s impressive 3-0 win over Argentina to Carlos Alberto. The Samba Boys were playing for the first time since their 1970 World Cup winning captain died from a heart attack in October and they put on a show in his honour, blowing their great rivals away.
Goals from Philippe Coutinho, Neymar and Paulinho made it five wins on the bounce, making them near certainties for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. But thoughts were in the past rather than the future before the game.
“We dedicate this win to Carlos Alberto,” Tite told reporters. “The start was better than I expected. I finished my pre-game speech with an image of Carlos Alberto’s goal to show team spirit. We knew how to overcome suffering and improve in the match when Argentina played better. The team is growing every day,” he said.
Argentina were better at times, they caused some problems and on top of that Fernandinho was already booked. “We had to reduce the amount of chances that Messi had to get the ball away from the area,” he said.
A dejected Messi after the match
In contrast to Brazil’s serene passage to Russia, Argentina have won just four of their first 11 games and currently sit outside of the automatic qualification spots. They sank to new lows in Belo Horizonte as their main players —Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria —were all no shows. Boss Edgardo Bauza, only in the job for five games, is already under pressure ahead of a potentially crucial clash with Columbia next week.
Brazil coach Tite
“It was one of the toughest defeats of my career. We were doing quite well. One mistake cost us the first goal, but I think the biggest problem was the second. But we have to be positive, in three days we have a very important match,” he said.
Messi accepts his side are likely to come under heavy criticism for the loss. He said: “We knew that this match was going to be difficult. The first goal stunned us, the second goal killed us. Unfortunately, before that first goal we were organised. The second affected us. After that, we became disorganised. We have to become strong mentally. We have to get out of this tough situation.”
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