World Cup news

Scolari unfazed by Russian blip

March 26, 2013
By ESPN staff

Luiz Felipe Scolari denies he is concerned over Brazil's potential to challenge for the 2014 World Cup, despite the Selecao requiring a late Fred goal to salvage a 1-1 draw with Russia on Monday night.

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Scolari made three changes to the side that drew with Italy last week, with defenders Thiago Silva and Marcelo and veteran midfielder Kaka earning their place in the starting line-up.

Brazil failed to exert their dominance early on at Stamford Bridge as they did in the first-half against Italy, but Scolari believes his side's woes were more of a reflection on Fabio Capello's well-drilled Russian outfit.

"I think that from the game against Italy to this on here we kept the same level, but we were playing against a well-organised team," Scolari said.

"They are one of the [53] European countries trying to qualify for the World Cup. They kept the ball quite a well and because of a lot of factors we maybe let that goal in because they marked higher that the Italians and pressed too.

"But what I really liked was that towards the end our team had a good reaction. They didn't get desperate, they kept their heads and worked the ball and scored the goal.

"We haven't evolved as much as from the England game to the Italy game, but we are on the right path. Everybody knows there are no shortcuts for success. You need to go in stages.

"We have to go through every stage to reach the final goal. In each stage we try to add some small improvements - someone comes in, someone changes position, etc."

Brazil's ability to win their home World Cup next year has come under scrutiny, particularly as they have only managed one win from their last six matches.

But Scolari believes Brazil are capable of taking out the Confederations Cup, which begins in June, to restore the Selecao's reputation.

"I believe that we already have the support and the trust of the Brazilian fans," the coach continued. "All we need to do is continue to work with the group.

"For the Confederation Cup we are going to have a strong, compact group. The fans can be sure that they will have a very recognisable group that they will be happy with."