Rugby and more Rugby!

The Rugby Championship and Currie Cup are in full swing. Who are the early title favourites? Have your say on our Forum!

Scolari thanks passionate fans

2014-06-13 10:06
Brazil fans celebrate (AFP)

Cape Town - Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari praised the passionate home crowd in Sao Paulo for inspiring his players to fight back to win their Soccer World Cup opener against Croatia on Thursday.

AS IT HAPPENED: Brazil v Croatia

GALLERY: Open Ceremony

The tournament favourites were rocked by an early own goal in the Corinthians Arena before recovering to win 3-1 after a hotly disputed penalty converted by Neymar.

Scolari, who masterminded Brazil's triumph at the 2002 World Cup, praised his players for keeping their nerve in the fevered atmosphere and coping with the suffocating pressure, particularly after falling behind.

"Our players were excellent in the sense of changing the result," he said.

"Overall, we have to congratulate all the fans in the stadium," said the coach, adding "it was different to what everyone could imagine".

The stadium was turned yellow as thousands of Brazilian fans thronged the stands, creating an electrifying atmosphere for the first match of the tournament.

Scolari singled out Oscar for special praise, saying he had had no doubts over the Chelsea man, who scored Brazil's third goal. Oscar's place was the subject of swirling debate in the run-up to the match.

Neymar was named man-of-the-match for his two goals but the Brazilian coach said the performance of Oscar deserved recognition.

"If there were a second award it would have been given to Oscar," said Scolari.

The Croatian camp hotly disputed the penalty that gave Brazil a 2-1 lead, awarded after Fred backed into Dejan Lovren and fell, but Scolari was adamant that the Japanese referee was right to award the spot kick.

"For me it was a penalty. I have seen it 10 times now and I think it was a penalty," he said.

Despite the win, Scolari warned against getting carried away as five-time champions Brazil seek their first World Cup win on home soil.

"There are six steps ahead of us. We have gone up the first step," he said.

More In This Category

Alejandro Sabella, who steered Argentina to the SWC final, has decided to quit as coach, Argentine has media reported.
The Japanese referee whose decisions in the opening match of the SWC triggered a storm of controversy has hit back at critics.
Brazilian superstar Neymar's brain activity while dancing past opponents is less than 10 percent the level of amateur players.
England's dismal SWC campaign in Brazil was doubly disappointing for Britain's pub operators, prompting soccer fans to stay at home.
Comments
Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk