Alves wants competitive matches
By Football News
Brazil defender Dani Alves says he would prefer his country were involved in a rigorous qualification campaign for next year's World Cup.
As host nation, Brazil are spared the tension of trying to book their place in next year's finals but, as he prepares for a friendly against Switzerland in Basel on Wednesday, the Barcelona star said he would prefer to be playing fixtures with a competitive edge.
"Unfortunately a friendly is not faced as a three points match, it's my opinion," Alves said.
"We can't add points, and if you look to our team, we are far from the top positions at FIFA's ranking, because we don't compete in an official competition.
"Honestly I would like to compete, to be on the qualifying, because this gives you conditions to feel the competition.
"We face the (Switzerland) match very focused, every time we use the Brazil shirt it's important, but unfortunately it's a friendly."
Alves defended his international team-mate Neymar, who did not speak to the media in Switzerland, declaring the 21-year-old needed to focus his energies on the training pitch.
"We don't have time to work, so we want to keep the focus. We are doing pre-season, so it's good to not be distracted with little problems," Alves said.
"We have to respect him and it was always like this, apart from me, we have to work more and talk less.
"I speak a lot and work as well, but we have to respect 'Ney' in this aspect.
"He's focused on what he wants, and this is important for us."
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, meanwhile, paid tribute to Fluminense striker Fred - a man he thinks will be key to his side's World Cup hopes.
"Fred is a player with great skills, very well positioned on the opposition box," Scolari said.
"He has the 'smell' of the goal, he is always in the right position and is very important for the team when he is in a good physical condition.
"He's very useful and does a perfect job as striker of the team."