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Scolari backs Neymar

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has defended star striker Neymar after he was jeered by fans in a 2-2 friendly draw with Chile.

The Santos forward played a hand in both of Brazil’s goals but received plenty of backlash from fans after he wasted a glorious chance in the 35th minute.

Scolari took the opportunity to test his squad depth with Brazil’s European-based players unavailable and made special mention of Neymar’s importance.

“He’s a cracker, and scores in every match. You can hit him, beat him, but even when you do this, he still scores. He’s fantastic, as a player and as a person,” Scolari said.

“There is a wave of speculation about Neymar. Everybody says that he always dives, and two out of 10 times the referee gives the foul, and this is just because he knows all about Neymar’s fame.

“Sometimes a foul is a foul, whether it’s on Neymar, Paulo, Pedro or Joao. Neymar’s ready for everything.”

Scolari is set to announce his Confederations Cup squad on May 14 and admitted Brazil were not close to where they want to be ahead of their home World Cup in 2014.

“We are not even close to perfection. We know that, the players know, I know, everybody knows,” he said.

“So we can’t create expectations and we have to avoid this criticism about the draw with Chile – it’s not the end of the world.

“Things didn’t work out. We need to work more now and we’ll see what happens.”

Fri 26 April, 2013
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