BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil – There’s no denying it, the thought of sudden World Cup elimination is on the minds of Luiz Felipe Scolari and his Brazil squad.
The veteran coach wants to assure the people of the host nation, though, that nerves are nothing to be worried about.
“It’s normal to feel uncomfortable and anxious ahead of this first elimination game,” Scolari said Friday, on the eve of Brazil’s second-round match against Chile. “We are a bit more scared and nervous.
“It’s normal in any competition, not only because this one is in Brazil. We know we can’t make mistakes, we can’t lose.”
A win over Chile at the Mineirao Stadium will keep Brazil on track for its sixth World Cup title, while a loss would be considered a massive failure in a country which has invested billions to stage the tournament.
Scolari said there’s a chance that Chile plays better than Brazil and eliminates the hosts, which shouldn’t be considered the end of the world if it happens.
“We have been doing our job with a lot of dedication, but we have to understand that if they are better than we are in the game and they win, we can’t lower our heads, end our lives and throw ourselves into a well,” he said.
Brazil has reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup every time since 1994.
The Brazilians haven’t lost to Chile since a World Cup qualifier in 2000, and have never lost a head-to-head with the Chileans on home soil. Since 2000, Brazil has won 10 of 12 matches against the Chileans. The teams have met three times in World Cups, most recently in 2010 when Brazil won 3-0 in the round of 16.
It remained unclear if defender David Luiz would be fit to play after leaving Thursday’s practice because of a back problem. The Brazilian federation said he participated in part of the team’s training session on Friday.
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