|Manuel Neuer during a training session at the Maracana
Fortaleza: Brazil striker Neymar has admitted he is happy to win ugly as he looks to take another step towards delivering his country’s sixth World Cup on home soil against Colombia in Fortaleza on Friday.
La Selecao have been criticised for some of their less convincing performances on route to the quarter-finals, most notably in squeezing past Chile on penalties in the last 16.
“You can’t always enjoy yourself and win 4-0 or 5-0. Football nowadays is so difficult, so even, that the team who is most committed on the pitch ends up winning,” said Neymar.
“I don’t want a show. That’s the last thing we are trying to do. We are not necessarily here to produce a spectacle. We are here to run to the end, until we are tired, and come out as winners.” Neymar also insisted he was fully-fit to face Colombia, despite suffering thigh and knee injuries against Chile.
One of the major concerns for coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has been the lack of support for Neymar in attacking areas as he has scored half of his side’s eight goals after four games, whilst other forwards Fred, Jo and Hulk have struggled to make an impact.
Neymar, though, claimed the team isn’t overdependent on him. “I don’t feel overburdened either on the pitch or off it. I have teammates who help me by winning the ball back, scoring goals, setting them up,” he said. “The Brazil team doesn’t have just one person who has to do everything.”
Scolari will be forced into at least one change from the side that faced Chile as Luis Gustavo is suspended so Tottenham Hotspur’s Paulinho is expected to come back into the side.
Gustavo’s absence is even more critical for the hosts given the sensational form of the tournament’s top goalscorer, Colombia’s James Rodriguez.
And Rodriguez believes Brazil should be just as worried about him as his countrymen should be about Neymar.
“We’re facing a very tough rival, which has great players, but they also have to think that we have great players, too. They should be worried about us. They can’t take us lightly.”