Juninho: Brazil was unprepared in 2006 WC | india | Hindustan Times
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Juninho: Brazil was unprepared in 2006 WC

Midfielder Juninho said the 2002 world champions didn't work hard enough to defend their title in Germany.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2006 18:08 IST

Brazil's team at the World Cup earlier in 2006 FIFA World Cup was poorly prepared and not selected on form, according to Lyon midfielder Juninho.

The 31-year-old Juninho, whose only start at the tournament was in Brazil's 1-0 quarterfinal loss to France, has now retired from the national team but praised new coach Dunga for testing other players.

"I hope he does the same, when the games start to count," Juninho said. "The idea of playing because of your name is over." Without mentioning former coach Carlos Alberto Parreira by name, Juninho said the 2002 world champions didn't work hard enough to defend their title in Germany.

"We didn't come to the World Cup prepared," he said. "We prepared against a Swiss second-division side and a New Zealand team with feet stuck in the mud.

"If you don't want to play many games, that's fine, but then you have to train harder. We didn't do that. Despite the lack of preparation, we didn't open our eyes."

Brazil was unimpressive in its five World Cup matches. Only in the group stage against Japan, when Parreira fielded five reserve players to rest his regular starters, did Brazil play well. "Those who were not playing well got a chance to play the whole 90 minutes," he said. "I waited three years to show my skill." In the quarterfinals, Juninho said France was "much better prepared physically" as Brazil was "already thinking about the final" and "always believed our talent alone would pull us through."

"Those that were champions in 2002, already knew that their names were in the national soccer gallery independent of the result at this World Cup," he added.