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Returning Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari upbeat despite defeat

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07 Feb 2013 03:16:56

Returning Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari upbeat despite defeat

Luiz Felipe Scolari brushed off concerns about his Brazil team after seeing them lose 2-1 to England at Wembley Stadium in the first game of his second spell as manager.

Scolari has returned to the role in a bid to turn Brazil into a side capable of triumphing on home soil at the 2014 World Cup, but his first team selection was exposed by an enterprising England performance.

The recalled Ronaldinho had a first-half penalty saved and was substituted at half-time alongside the disappointing Luis Fabiano, while Santos virtuoso Neymar struggled to find holes in the England back four.

However, the charismatic 64-year-old, who replaced Mano Menezes as Brazil coach in November, said it was too early to sound the alarm.

"I'm already used to losing my first game," he said after Wednesday's match.

"But after the first game, I'm used to winning games and I'm used to winning competitions. I'm not disappointed, I'm not sad.

"As long as we play strong teams like England, Italy, France, we'll develop and we'll see what our full capacity is."

The night might have turned out differently for Brazil had Ronaldinho not seen his 19th-minute penalty saved by Joe Hart, after man-of-the-match Jack Wilshere had been penalised for handball.

Ronaldinho was making his first Brazil appearance for nearly a year, but the 32-year-old former Barcelona superstar was withdrawn by Scolari after failing to stamp his authority on the game.

By that stage, England led through a 27th-minute Wayne Rooney goal, and although Fred levelled for the visitors early in the second half, Frank Lampard struck on the hour to give England a first victory over Brazil since 1990.

Despite Ronaldinho's lacklustre display, Scolari said he would show patience with the man who played a starring role in the team that the Brazil manager led to glory at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

"He played 90 minutes in his first game in Brazil (for Atletico Mineiro)," said Scolari.

"There's still some work for him to do, but if he keeps working as he has done, he will be capped again."

Scolari was also generous in his assessment of England, but suggested his thoughts had already started to turn towards Roy Hodgson's side's trip to Brazil at the end of the European season.

Asked for his assessment of England's performance, he said: "I wasn't surprised.

"We've seen videos of them and we've looked at their statistics. England always play like that when their players are in good form. Let's see how they play on June 2."


AFP

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