Willian hopes the Brazil squad remain humble after qualification for the World Cup was heralded by some as a watershed moment.
The Selecao became the first team, other than the hosts, to secure passage to the tournament in Russia next year, thanks to a 3-0 win over Paraguay and Uruguay’s 2-1 loss to Peru.
Five-time world champions Brazil triumphed in Japan and Korea in 2002, but bowed out in the quarter-finals at each of the subsequent two editions of the competition.
They reached the semi-finals on home soil in 2014, only to suffer a humiliating 7-1 loss to eventual winners Germany.
Speaking after Tuesday’s victory at Arena Corinthians, Chelsea attacker Willian welcomed the renewed interest in Brazil’s exploits, but knows they remain a long way from adding to their haul of international silverware on the big stage in 2018.
“The way we are playing is being watched all over the world,” he said. “People are saying that the champions are back.
“I think this is really important, to play with confidence. But it is also important to keep humble, realistic, be conscious that we haven’t won anything yet. And that our biggest aim is the World Cup.
“I guess we can celebrate for being qualified. We’re almost there or we have just sealed our passport, but everybody knows which celebration we want to make the most.”
— #WCQ (@FIFAWorldCup) March 29, 2017
Responding to calls for Brazil to arrange a friendly to test themselves against Europe’s best, Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who opened the scoring in Sao Paulo, claimed it is not important who Tite’s side go up against as they prepare for the finals.
“It doesn’t matter which squad is our opponent, we have the responsibility of getting onto the pitch and doing the best we can, be it against an European or a South American team,” he said.
“Our aim is to evolve from each game and be better in the pitch.
“The coach always analyses the games and sees in what [areas] we can improve. Today the team played well and we deserved to win, so we are happy.”
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