It’s football, not UFC – Neymar angered by rough treatment

The forward was the victim of several strong tackles on Sunday but one of the alleged offenders says the 23-year-old was guilty of “theatre”

It's football, not UFC - Neymar angered by rough treatment

Neymar accused Chile of employing “UFC” tactics after he was on the end of some rough treatment during Brazil’s 1-0 friendly victory at the Emirates Stadium.

Roberto Firmino’s 72nd minute strike was enough for the Selecao to extend their winning streak to eight matches, but the major talking point was Gary Medel’s stamp on Neymar.

The Inter midfielder appeared to tread on the Barcelona star during a first half altercation, but escaped without caution, much to Neymar’s dismay.

“This wasn’t a game of football,” he said. “It’s meant to be football not UFC. The referee is there to stop these things from happening, but there were four referees and none of them saw anything!

“It seems we have to suffer. I am a sufferer!”

Medel, meanwhile, rejected the post-match protests of the 23-year-old in a scathing response on Twitter, in which he accused him of “theatre”.

“Tackles are normal in a game. Some players do theatre, others play football … it’s a pity that not everyone gets on with the game.”

The victory means Brazil boss Dunga has won every game since taking over from Luiz Felipe Scolari following last summer’s World Cup.


Luiz: Brazil not winning the World Cup will be a failure

The defender understands the expectations on the Selecao players but says the team are focused on claiming the trophy for the fans.

Luiz: Brazil not winning the World Cup will be a failure

David Luiz has admitted that if Brazil do not win the World Cup on home turf it will be considered a failure.

The Selecao are under pressure to win a record sixth title in front of their fans this summer, with Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team having already progressed to the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Brazil will have to beat an impressive Colombia side in Fortaleza on Friday if they want to book their place in the semi-finals but Luiz says the players will deliver for the fans.

When asked about the expectations on the team at the World Cup, Luiz told The Times of India: “We need to win, that’s our life. All the Brazilian people are expecting it; we have to deliver.

“But, we have a manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, who has won it and done it before and that helps. He has been fantastic for us.”

Brazil had to overcome a tough last-16 tie against Chile, which the Selecao won on penalties, to reach the quarter-finals.

The team has been criticised for their lack of flair in comparison to previous Brazil sides, but Luiz arugued that what the squad lacked in firepower in the attacking areas, they made up for in defence.

“I know what everyone used to say – that all Brazilians want to be Pele or Zico and don’t think about defending or about tactics,” the centre-back said.

“But, world football has changed because many Brazilian players are now playing in Europe. These guys are used to different formations, different styles.

“There are many, many names of top quality in our defence now, and it means Brazil are no longer known just for their strikers but for being a great team.”

Luiz endured a difficult season at Chelsea last year with the 27-year-old not being part of manager Jose Mourinho’s first-choice central defensive pairing.

Despite his form for his club side last term, the defender admitted that he was grateful to have been called up to represent Brazil at the World Cup by Scolari.

“It made me think back to when I was a boy, dreaming of playing in the World Cup” he said.

“I’m just so happy that my dream came true and I have to say ‘thank you’ to so many people who helped me in my career.”

Luiz will be playing for French champions Paris Saint-Germain next season after Chelsea agreed a £40m fee with the Ligue 1 side.

And the Brazilian has revealed his happiness at the move to France and is confident his compatriots at the club will help him fit in.

“Right from the very first contact I had with Paris Saint-Germain, I was very happy,” he said.

“It’s a big club with a great history and [is] a huge project. It has fantastic facilities and a lot of supporters.

“It’s a new step in my life and I’m impatient to play for Paris and show what I can do. I also can’t wait to play with my new team-mates – the Brazilians, of course – but also everybody else.”

He added: “The fact that so many Brazilians already play for Paris Saint-Germain will be a big help, without doubt.”

Brazil 1-1 Chile (pens 3-2): Super Cesar saves Selecao from early exit

The hosts went ahead through David Luiz but were pegged back shortly afterwards by Alexis Sanchez and the game needed spot kicks to see Felipao’s men into the next round


Brazil overcame enormous pressure to edge past Chile on penalties in their World Cup last 16 clash in Belo Horizonte on Saturday following a 1-1 draw after extra-time.

David Luiz officially opened the scoring for Brazil after Thiago Silva’s flick-on from a Neymar corner, although replays seemed to suggest the ball had come off Chile’s Gonzalo Jara.

But the host nation were pegged back just after the half-hour mark when Alexis Sanchez equalised following sloppy Selecao defending from a throw-in deep in their own half.

Brazil fans were then brought to their feet 10 minutes into the second half only to have their hopes of a second goal dashed after Hulk’s strike was disallowed for a handball in the build-up.

Both South American sides struggled to fashion a better goalscoring chance as energy levels dropped and the game went into extra-time, when Mauricio Pinilla had the best chance to win the match for Chile by crashing a 20-yard strike against the crossbar in the 120th minute.

And so the last-16 tie had to be decided with spot kicks and it was Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar who stood out as the hero, pulling off two saves to see Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men into the quarter-finals.

Three hours earlier, thoughts that a highly-charged atmosphere would simmer after the spine-tingling national anthems were quickly dispelled, as Fernandinho – starting in midfield in place of the much-maligned Paulinho – crunched into an early challenge.

Perhaps concluding that there was already enough yellow on show in the stadium, referee Howard Webb rightly kept his cards in his pocket.

Brazil started brightly, beating Chile at their own game as they pressed high and afforded their South American counterparts little space.

And after 18 minutes their endeavour brought the corner that created the opening goal, Thiago Silva flicking on Neymar’s delivery to the back post – where Gonzalo Jara tussled with David Luiz. The Paris Saint-Germain-bound defender was officially credited with the goal, although replays suggested that Jara had got a decisive touch to divert the ball goalward.

Far from assuming control, though, Brazil were made to pay for some sloppiness at the back 14 minutes later, Eduardo Vargas intercepting a stray Hulk pass and sliding in Sanchez, who produced the coolest of side-footed finishes.

Suddenly end-to-end in nature, the game almost had a third goal before the break as Neymar, Fred and Dani Alves all went close.

Chile gave another reminder of their threat just prior to the interval, Alexis denied his second only by Luiz’s last-ditch sliding challenge.

Another flashpoint came quickly after the restart, Brazil prevented from taking the lead when Hulk was crucially adjudged to have handled Marcelo’s ball over the top, which had preceded a fine left-footed finish.

The decision was met by a cacophony of jeers from the home fans, but relief was to displace any feelings of injustice Brazil might have had a few moments later, Julio Cesar producing a stunning reactionary save to keep out Charles Aranguiz’s effort following fine work from Arturo Vidal and Mauricio Isla.

Brazil continued to look dangerous at the other end, although Neymar’s customary composure deserted him as he headed Alves’ cross straight at goalkeeper Claudio Bravo – who was later on hand to keep out a powerful Hulk strike.

Extra time brought with it an added caginess – albeit with the exception of Hulk, who – apparently spurred on by a sense of injustice – was at the heart of everything, epitomised by a powerful effort that forced Bravo into a stop.

With Chile suddenly camped on their own box, further chances did not materialise but Jorge Sampaoli’s underdogs almost snatched it right at the end of the added period – substitute Pinilla rattling the woodwork with a thunderous drive in the final minute as the hosts were afforded a huge slice of good fortune.

And it was one they took full advantage of. Brazil immediately took control of the shoot-out as David Luiz sent Bravo the wrong way and Pinilla saw his effort saved by Julio Cesar.

And, despite misses from Willian and Hulk, Jara rattled the post with the final kick to leave Neymar’s cooly taken effort as the winning one.



Brazilian helicopter caught spying on Chile training

Thursday’s session was halted by coach Jorge Sampaoli to stop the hosts’ national broadcaster from transmitting live images of their preparations for Saturday’s last-16 clash


Chile’s training session on Thursday was brought to a temporary standstill after a helicopter belonging to a Brazilian television station was caught spying on the team’s practice just outside Belo Horizonte.

The South Americans are preparing to face Brazil in the last 16 of the World Cup at the Estadio Mineirao on Saturday and the helicopter was transmitting live images from above to the nation’s largest broadcaster, TV Globo.

Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli quickly called a halt to the session until the helicopter was ushered away from local side Cruzeiro’s training centre at Toca da Raposa.

Training then resumed after a short break, but the session ultimately overran by around 50 minutes, with journalists forced to wait outside on the street.

“It didn’t bother us,” wing-back Mauricio Isla told reporters at the press conference after training, which started late partly due to the unexpected intruder. “But our coach was worried they might see our moves and how we are preparing for the match.”

And he joked: “We tried to hit it [the helicopter] with the balls but we weren’t able to!”


Ronaldo sure of Brazil-Argentina final


The former Selecao striker thinks his nation will have to beat their great rivals to clinch the World Cup, and celebrated the displays of Neymar in the competition


Brazil legend Ronaldo believes his county will face Argentina in the World Cup final, but admits that he is not prepared to handle the team losing to their great rivals.

With both sides through to the knockout stages and on opposite sides of the draw, they could conceivably meet at the Maracana on June 13 should they both successfully navigate their remaining games.

“I’m pretty sure that the final will be Brazil-Argentina,” he said to reporters at a Fifa event.

“It will be a dream if we win. But to lose would be a nightmare. So hopefully Argentina lose before then.”

Brazil must first turn their attentions to their round of 16 tie against Chile, and Ronaldo feels that Jorge Sampaoli’s men are the more worried outfit heading into Saturday’s encounter.

“My opinion is that Chile are infinitely more concerned that the Brazil team, not only for the football but the [historical] record,” he said.

Ronaldo also took time to praise Neymar’s performances in the group stages, arguing that his compatriot has overshadowed Lionel Messi at the tournament.

“Neymar and Messi are being decisive,” he added.

“Neymar is playing a lot. Messi is growing in the World Cup but Neymar, for me, is becoming the figure of this World Cup.”

Ronaldo is the joint all-time leading scorer in World Cup history with 15 goals, though fellow record-holder Miroslav Klose could yet eclipse his tally with Germany also through to the last 16.



Brazil depend on Neymar like Argentina on Messi, says Scolari

The coach has dismissed suggestions his side are over-reliant on the former Santos man and is full of respect for last-16 opponents Chile


Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has admitted Neymar is as important to the host nation as Lionel Messi is to Argentina after he scored twice in the 4-1 win over Cameroon.

The Barcelona attacker gave Brazil the lead after 17 minutes of play when he tapped home a low cross from Luiz Gustavo and scored his fourth goal of the tournament later in the first half with a fine solo effort.

“Brazil depend on Neymar like Argentina depend on Messi,” Scolari said at the post-match press conference.

“They are players who are different and can make the difference for their respective teams.

“Neymar is a point of reference to Brazil, like Messi is to Argentina.”

Brazil managed to avoid Netherlands in the round of 16 after their win over Cameroon, but Scolari ensured the press he would not be looking beyond an in-form Chile side.

“Many thought that Chile wouldn’t make it out of their group, but I’m not surprised. They have a lot of quality.

“If I had had the chance to choose an opponent I would have picked another team. I would have preferred not to meet Chile.

“It is always difficult to play against South American opposition. Chile have a lot of individual quality and are very well organised.”

Brazil’s round of 16 match against Chile will take place in Belo Horizone on June 28.