Brazil coach Tite insists he has given no thought to a potential blockbuster second-round meeting with Germany as his side prepare to face Serbia.
The five-time champions head into Wednesday’s clash in Moscow as Group E leaders, needing just a point to guarantee their last-16 berth.
A Group F opponent awaits, with Mexico and Germany currently occupying the two qualification spots – prompting recollections of Brazil’s 7-1 humiliation at the hands of Joachim Low’s men in the semi-final on home soil four years ago.
Defeat to Serbia could yet spell the end for the Selecao, though, meaning Tite is refusing to look too far ahead.
“We cannot think about it and we’re not, I can assure you,” he said.
“These campaigns are built on teams that get stronger as time goes by. I have to look for the right words because of course my expectations are riding high.
“What we have is the quality of Serbia – [Aleksandar] Kolarov, [Branislav] Ivanovic, [Sergej] Milinkovic[-Savic], [Aleksandar] Mitrovic, [Nemanja] Matic.
“In the World Cup it’s about personal relationships, it’s teams, it’s opponents, it’s loyalty, our relationship as a team.
“The opponent, whoever comes, let them come, as long as we deserve to be going through.”
— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) June 26, 2018
Brazil have three players on a yellow card – Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Casemiro – and another for any of that trio against Serbia would see them miss any potential second-round fixture.
But Tite confirmed he would stick with the same starting XI that defeated Costa Rica 2-0 in St Petersburg on Friday.
“The mistakes we’ve made, the coach doesn’t talk about it publicly,” he said. “Of course we have to do things correctly, what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong and we don’t shy away from our duties.
“Between having bad conscience and bad prestige I’d rather have bad prestige but I’m not going to speak about it publicly.
“We have a decisive game. Our continuity depends fundamentally on this match.”
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