Scolari: Brazil ominously close to best
By Football News
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari says he has almost found his best starting XI after their 3-0 Confederations Cup victory over Japan.
A glorious goal from Neymar opened the scoring for the hosts, before Paulinho and substitute Jo netted in the second half to give Scolari's men a comfortable win.
Jo's introduction after being frozen out from the national set-up might win Scolari some additional favour with the fans, and after performing admirably under considerable pressure to succeed, things might just be falling into place for Brazil.
"My feeling is that we're finding the best lineup," Scolari told reporters.
"Little by little, with backup options that help us a lot when they come into the pitch.
"We'll only get better with time."
Hero of the hour Neymar scored a wondrous third-minute goal for Selecao, after being laid off well by Fred, to end a run of nine games without finding the back of the net - much to his coach's delight.
However, Scolari was quick to praise the team's performance as a whole.
"I've said it already, Neymar is a fine player, who may not be on his best sometimes, but is a great talent, he can make a difference," he said.
"The team spirit, the dynamics of this group of players, must also be highlighted."
Meanwhile, Neymar says he is happy with how the team is playing.
"I am delighted to have scored. I always say that I want to evolve my game, and want the team to play as a group."
Neymar was withdrawn late in the second half to a standing ovation after he picked up a slight knock but he insists there is nothing to worry about.
He replied: "I am fine and ready for the next match, and for every match. I always think about my family and get inspired to play."
Brazil could secure progression to the semi-finals with victory against Mexico in Fortaleza on Wednesday.
Alberto Zaccheroni has admitted Japan never got going against Brazil but believes there is much more to come from his side.
"We weren't able to demonstrate our abilities. We've only shown about 50 percent of what we can do," Zaccheroni lamented to reporters after the match.
"Brazil were very clever and played their emotional style on the pitch."
The 60-year-old nevertheless expressed his optimism over the next encounter: "We have time to think about the next match. We have to get back up and prepare for it."
Zaccheroni will be hoping to keep up the pace in Group A against compatriots Italy. The Azzurri will begin their Confederations Cup campaign against Mexico on Sunday.