Brazil’s national team coach Luis Felipe Scolari expects Wednesday’s Confederations Cup semi-final game to serve as the “crucial moment” when the country can reunite again.
A large protest of nothing less than 100,000 people is scheduled for Wednesday in Belo Horizonte, where hosts Brazil takes on Uruguay. The protest is set to take place close to the Estadio Mineirao Stadium, where the match has been billed to kick-off but FIFA says it is confident there will be sufficient security for the game to proceed safely.
The head coach believes the success of the Selecao could calm the tensions after weeks of demonstrations by Brazilians, who are calling for a systemic change in the governance of the nation, has beclouded the beauty of the game.
“This is a crucial moment for the Brazilian team. But we need to take one more step forward, to defeat Uruguay and reach the final,” said Scolari.
“Brazilians have been with us and everything we have done to build a better country will not be in vain if we can keep this run up.
“We must find a way of working together, not fighting with each other. Maybe in five or ten years’ time we can have a better country.”
Scolari also believes his team has made real progress in the course of the tournament.
“We are better in comparison to February when we started in my first match. We have a good foundation. In this tournament we have had tough matches and the group has improved and is more self confident.
“We know the managers of the other teams have always respected us because Brazil has always been a great team. But maybe they weren’t 100% sure we would be strong this time.”
He added that his fold was beginning to leave up to the standards set by the great Brazilian sides of the past, even though he admitted the fact that it’s still a long journey to catch Spain, Germany and Argentina.
“We are earning back the history of the Brazil team. But we still have a long way to go to say we are as good as the top four or five teams in the world.”
Uruguay’s formidable frontline includes top class strikers in Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan, “top quality players” even the best defence in the world dreads. So also Scolari who admitted he feared their star players.
“Uruguay have so many good players but they probably fear our players as much as we fear theirs,” the coach said.
“Cavani has been the top striker in Italy for the last few seasons, Forlan was the best player in the 2010 World Cup and Suarez is one of the best players in the English league. That alone shows how careful you have to be with them. They are top quality players, our team knows that.”