Brazil not giving up on Fred

2014-06-23 08:55
Fred (AFP)

Cape Town - Brazil are not eyeing an alternative to centre-forward Fred at the World Cup and are confident the misfiring forward will start hitting the target soon.

Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's first move when he took over the side 18 months ago was to field a target man, a role which had fallen out of favour under his predecessor Mano Menezes.

However, Brazil, who could previously call on the likes of Ronaldo, Careca and Romario, are suffering from a dearth of centre-forwards and Scolari is dependent on out-of-form Fred and Jo at the World Cup.

Scolari initially handed the role to Luis Fabiano in his first match in charge against England in February last year and replaced him with former Olympique Lyon striker Fred at halftime.

Fred, now at Fluminense, immediately impressed, scoring Brazil's goal in a 2-1 defeat, and kept the role for last year's Confederations Cup, where he finished as joint top-scorer with five goals to help Brazil win the title.

Shortly afterwards, the 30-year-old, who played at the 2006 World Cup, suffered a long-term injury and spent the run-up to the World Cup trying to regain his form.

Scolari, wanting to remain loyal to the Confederations Cup squad, reassured Fred that he remained the first choice.

However, Fred has not refound last year's form and his cause was not helped by the poor standard of opposition in the season-opening Carioca (Rio de Janeiro state) championship.

Central defender Thiago Silva said Fred, who won a controversial penalty against Croatia but was ineffective in the 0-0 draw against Mexico, should not be judged by the number of goals he scores.

"Fred is still an important player for our team and he doesn't have to score every game," said Thiago Silva.

"His job is to participate and if he can help the team by opening up space for Neymar and other players to score, we will all be happy.

"He doesn't have to worry about scoring, he has to think about the team, the group and he is quite unruffled because the same thing happened in the Confederations Cup.

"I am sure that he will start scoring goals in any case. It will be the same story as the Confederations Cup, when he didn't score in the first two games."

"I'm sure that tomorrow (Monday) he will score a goal and take this weight off his shoulders, of course a striker lives by goals and I'm with him."

Brazil play Cameroon in their final Group A game on Monday needing a point to progress.

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