World Cup 2014: Brazil closing in on heaven – Scolari

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Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari says his side are three games from “heaven” after beating Chile in a penalty shootout in the World Cup last 16.
The hosts will face Colombia in the quarter-finals after beating Chile 3-2 on spot kicks following a 1-1 draw.
Scolari said: “We took upon ourselves this mission that we must be champions. If you make a promise you must deliver. This is what the players are doing.
“There are three more games to see if we can reach heaven.”
Scolari admitted before the game that the hosts were “anxious”, “afraid” and “nervous”, and they were inches away from exiting their home World Cup when Mauricio Pinilla hit the crossbar for Chile in the last minute of extra-time.
“In every match, the difficulties are escalating,” Scolari, who led Brazil to 2002 World Cup glory, said.
“The World Cup has shown that teams are very balanced. If you cannot exploit one or two or three chances, as we didn’t today, then you might pay the price for that and go out.”

Analysis

“I’ve never seen such an emotional bunch of players as Brazil. Their togetherness and spirit is incredible.

“Before the game they were crying, during the huddle before the shootout they were all crying. It looks like they are struggling to contain themselves.”

However, the former Portugal boss was not happy with his opposite number Jorge Sampaoli.
“We are being very cordial, very nice and polite to the foreign teams. But perhaps it’s time for us to change,” he said. “They were almost encroaching into our area. It was almost like war, they were waging a battle. I can’t hold it in, I can’t be polite any more.”
Scolari says key striker Neymar, who has scored four goals so far, “hurt his thigh right at the start of game from a heavy challenge” but is confident he will be fit for Friday’s quarter-final.
Brazil players celebrate
Keeper Julio Cesar, who saved two penalties, was third choice for QPR until joining Toronto in February
Chile coach Sampaoli was proud of his players for pushing the hosts all the way.
“I told them to fight, I told them to be brave. I told them to defy history, and we came so close but unfortunately it wasn’t to be,” he said.
“The players have represented our country in a beautiful, wonderful way.”
Brazil captain Thiago Silva described the World Cup as a “unique moment” in the players’ lives.
He continued: “I’ve said before coming onto the pitch that if someone has to cry it has to be out of joy. And that is what I will say in the dressing room now.
“And now we have three more games left and we will work hard to play better and try to win it in normal time because if we have to go to penalties again we will end up killing someone.”
Former Brazil midfielder Juninho, working as a Match of the Day pundit during the tournament, said he was “very emotional to see Brazil to go through”.
“Unbelievable. My heart is OK now,” he added. “We could not go out of this tournament.
“I think from here until the end it will be as dramatic as this. We don’t know how to play long balls, we need to play the Brazilian way and keep the ball on the floor. Brazil need to improve every game.”

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