Brazil seek to finish the Bleus
Should they rediscover their missing spark against France, their chase for a record 6th crown will be on in earnest. Head-to-head | Track record | Pics | Rewindindia Updated: Jul 01, 2006 14:59 IST
Brazil have been far from the consummate defending champions at the Germany World Cup but should they rediscover their missing spark against France here on Saturday, their chase for a record sixth world crown will be on in earnest.
Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is demanding more consistency from his exotically-talented team as Brazil face up to Zinedine Zidane’s recharged Les Bleus for a place in the last four against England or Portugal.
Also underscoring Brazil’s quest for the ‘Hexa’ or sixth world title is that no South American team has won the World Cup in Europe, stretching back to young Pele’s Brazil in Sweden in 1958.
Parreira, who once vowed never to coach Brazil again after the 1994 title victory over Italy after the personal abuse he received for the way the team played, wants a more patient buildup rather than throwing away possession. “We lack consistency with our moves. It’s one thing to have speed. It’s another thing to be in a hurry. We confused speed with hurry. We have been in a hurry too often and we have made a lot of mistakes,” Parreira said ahead of the Frankfurt quarter-final.
"What we have to do is work the ball around the pitch more before we make the move." Brazil face a recharged France coming off their 3-1 spanking of Spain in the round of 16 in Hanover and memories of their 1998 final humbling in Paris when Zidane scored twice in a 3-0 World Cup boilover.
Gilberto Silva, likely to play in the midfield in place of Emerson who has a knee problem, rates France highly. “France are a spectacular team full of great players and we will have to be at our best to get a result against them,” he said. “I really believe that we are not playing to the best of our ability right now,” the Arsenal player said.
France played their best football for years to beat Spain, but defender Lilian Thuram believes they will have to improve further if they are to have any chance of derailing Brazil’s title defence. The Juventus defender said: “It was good to come up against a talented team in Spain in the second round, we had to raise our game. Now we have to raise it again for Brazil, not only in terms of quality of play but also our level of concentration.” Thuram knows what lies ahead of his team in Frankfurt. “When you look at Brazil’s players it's extraordinary the talent they've got, two Footballers of the Year in Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, Kaka, Adriano, Cafu and a very good keeper.
"They’re favourites but the beauty about football is that favourites don't always win." Thuram, along with Zidane, are playing in their last major tournament for France after being coaxed out of retirement during last year's qualifiers to help get the team to Germany.