Brazil coach happy with lightweight friendlies

May 28, 2006

WEGGIS, Switzerland, May 28 (Reuters) - Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said on Sunday he was happy to face lightweight opposition rather than top sides in the build-up to the World Cup.

After watching his side beat the under-20 team of Brazilian club Fluminense 13-1 in a training match played in torrential rain, Parreira said that a similar policy had served the world champions well in the past.

'If we wanted strong opponents, we would have them,' Parreira told reporters. 'But our philosophy is to give priority to the training, not to the games. It has proved to work in the past.'

Since qualifying for the World Cup, Brazil's only friendly internationals have been away to the United Arab Emirates, which they won 8-0, and away to Russia, when they won 1-0 in freezing conditions.

The only other international before the tournament starts in Germany is against New Zealand in Geneva next Sunday.

They will also face a Lucerne Select XI in Basel on Tuesday.

Similarly, Brazil's last game before the 1998 World Cup was a friendly against Andorra at a fourth division ground in a run-down Paris suburb, which they won 3-0.

They limbered up for the 2002 World Cup by thrashing Malaysia 4-0 in Kuala Lumpur.

'Ronaldinho, Edmilson and Gilberto were all playing competitive football until May 17,' said Parreira.

'We want the team in one piece, we want to recharge our batteries so that we are in form and ready to go when the competition starts.'

'In 1994, we trained for one month and we played against Honduras and El Salvador.

'Colombia were among the favourites to win -- they beat Argentina 5-0 in the qualifiers. But they played a whole load of games in South America and the United States, they didn't train, and went out in the first round.

'You can't judge teams from friendlies,' he added when asked to comment on Germany's 7-0 demolition of Luxemburg on Saturday.

Brazil face Croatia in their opening Group F match on June 13. They also play Australia on June 18 and Japan on June 22.