Winning trumps style for pragmatic Brazilians

The Rio Report

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Winning the World Cup for a sixth time matters more to Brazil than putting on a display of the "beautiful game", Brazil technical director Carlos Alberto Parreira said on Friday.

Parreira, who coached Brazil to the World Cup in 1994, said Brazilians loved what he called "fancy football" and dribbling but it was not always possible to turn on the style.

"We want to play good football," he told Reuters in an interview.

"In the end, what really counts is to win the World Cup. The way you do it doesn't matter really," he added.

Parreira's Brazil team ultimately had to grind their way to victory in that 1994 tournament, winning the final on penalties after a 0-0 draw with Italy.

Midfielder Paulinho echoed his thoughts.

"If we need to play ugly to win a match, we are going to do that," said Paulinho, who was speaking at an event in southern England organised by energy drink company Gatorade, a sponsor of the Brazilian team.

Gatorade was showcasing how it has developed individual drinks for Brazilian players to ensure that they get the right level of hydration in training and matches.

Parreira played down fears that the World Cup in Brazil could be marred by anti-government protests or poor organisation that could pose problems for travelling fans.

"We are a football country. There are some difficulties in organising the World Cup but I can tell you that inside the stadiums it is going to be great." said Parreira.

"The Brazilian supporters, the Brazilian people, they will be behind the national team very strongly," he added.

The Brazilian management is trying to turn the expectation that comes with playing at home into additional motivation and the lessons seem to have been absorbed by the players.

"We all know the responsibility we have on our shoulders but we are privileged. It's a gift to be offered the opportunity to play the World Cup," said Paulinho, who plays for Tottenham.

Parreira said the World Cup looked wide open with all the previous winners having qualified for the tournament.

"We are still rating Spain as one of the strongest teams in the world right now. They have an established team for at least six years, same players, same way (of playing)," he said of the defending champions.

"South American teams will do well in this World Cup," he added.

However, Parreira said the 1950 World Cup when Uruguay beat Brazil on their home soil to win the tournament was irrelevant to today's generation despite frequent references to it as a national trauma in the media.

Parreira said he was a small boy when Brazil hosted that tournament and did not remember it.

"It does not affect our players. It's history," he said.

REUTERS

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