TT Epaper
The Telegraph
TT Photogallery
 
CIMA Gallary

Getting closer to our dream, says Neymar

- ‘Told Fred he needed a moustache to score goals’
Juan Cuadrado after converting a penalty that gave Colombia the lead against Japan in the 17th minute, in Cuiaba, on Tuesday. The teams were locked 1-1 at half-time after Shinji Okazaki equalised in the closing stages of the first half. In the other Group C match, Greece rode a 42nd-minute strike by Andreas Samaris to lead Ivory Coast 1-0 at the break, in Fortaleza. (Getty Images)

Brasilia: Neymar hailed Brazil’s 4-1 victory over Cameroon as the hosts’ “best performance yet” after a Man-of-the-Match display that fired his team into the World Cup last 16. While Neymar scored two goals, Fred and Fernandinho also got their names on the scoresheet.

“The most important thing was the team and I think this was our best performance,” said the 22-year-old after receiving his award at the National Stadium in Brasilia, on Monday.

“Not because of the number of goals we scored but because of the way we played, pressing our opponents in the way we wanted to. Congratulations to everyone. We are on the right track and are growing all the time as we get closer to making our dream come true.”

Brazil’s win saw them finish at the top of Group A on goal difference from Mexico and took them through to a last-16 tie against Chile on Saturday in Belo Horizonte.

“I think it will be a very difficult match. Everyone who is watching the World Cup knows that there are no weak teams in the competition,” said Neymar, who has now scored four goals in his first three World Cup matches, equalling a feat achieved by the legendary Pele.

“Everybody is at the same level. Football is becoming harder and harder so we will be up against very strong opposition.”

Neymar after scoring his second goal, on Monday

Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez are likely to have key roles if Chile are to get the better of the hosts and the latter is someone that Neymar knows pretty well. “I always speak to Alexis on the phone. Now, we are going to come up against each other,” Neymar said about his teammate at Barcelona.

“Alexis is a star. I admire him a lot. He is a great player and we will need to be careful with him. We can’t give him any space.”

Neymar also praised his fellow forward Fred and claimed that the striker’s new moustache helped him get among the goals for the first time in this World Cup.

“I told him that he needed to have a moustache to score goals and when he got the goal I reminded him of that,” said Neymar.

Teams

Brazil: Julio Cesar; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Paulinho (Fernandinho 46), Luiz Gustavo, Oscar; Hulk (Ramires 63), Fred, Neymar (Willian 71)

Cameroon: Charles Itandje; Allan Nyom, Nicolas N’Koulou, Henri Bedimo; Joel Matip, Stephane M’Bia, Landry N’Guemo, Eyong Enoh; Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Jean Makoun, 81), Vincent Aboubakar (Pierre Webo, 72), Benjamin Moukandjo (Edgar Salli, 58)

Man of the Match: Neymar

Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)