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World Cup favoritism won’t affect Brazil, says coach Tite | Coastweek

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Gabriel Jesus [right] of Brazil competes for a header during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group E match between Brazil and Serbia in Moscow, Russia, June 27, 2018. Brazil won 2-0 and advanced to round of 16. XINHUA PHOTO - CAO CAN

World Cup favoritism won’t affect Brazil, says coach Tite

By Sportswriter Michael Place MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Brazil coach Tite says he and his players will embrace the rising expectations placed on them as they prepare for the knockout stage of the World Cup in Russia.

The five-time world champions secured top spot in Group E with a 2-0 victory over Serbia here on Wednesday.

The result left Brazil with seven points from their three group matches, two points ahead of second-placed Switzerland, who also advanced to the round of 16. Serbia and Costa Rica were eliminated from Group E.

“I like expectation. We embrace it,” Tite told a news conference after the match at Spartak Stadium. “There are expectations on us because we played so well in the qualifiers and friendlies. But the World Cup represents a new cycle. It’s a new format.

“I want us to play at the level we showed before (the tournament) but the World Cup is a different kettle of fish. There has been expectation placed on us by others but I am focused on evolving and getting stronger.”

Brazil will now meet Mexico, who limped into the round of 16 after a 3-0 loss to Sweden earlier on Wednesday, in the southwestern city of Samara on July 2.

Bookmakers have installed Brazil as title favorites after Germany’s shock elimination, but Tite said he is unconcerned about what others think about his team.

“We don’t live off of expectations, we live off of reality,” he said. “It’s a team that’s growing strong in the competition mentally, taking the pressure with a good performance on the pitch. In football you have to have balance. I was not able to sleep sometimes, thinking about this type of chemistry and balance.”



Brazil secure top spot in Group E with 2-0 win over Serbi

By Michael Place MOSCOW  (Xinhua) -- Paulinho and Thiago Silva scored either side of halftime as Brazil secured top spot in World Cup Group E with a 2-0 victory over Serbia here.

Paulinho netted with a deft chip over goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic before Silva doubled the lead by heading in from a Neymar corner.

The result left Brazil with seven points from their three group matches, two points ahead of second-placed Switzerland, who also advanced to the round of 16. Serbia and Costa Rica were eliminated from Group E.

For Brazil, the victory was soured by a leg injury to Real Madrid left-back Marcelo, who hobbled off the pitch in the opening minutes.

Although the scoreline might not have shown it, Brazil dominated the match, save for a 10-minute period in the second half when Serbia laid siege to the South American side’s goal.

The five-time world champions began the game full of energy and nearly went ahead in the fourth minute.

Philippe Coutinho laid the ball off to Neymar who split Serbia’s defence with a one-touch through ball to Gabriel Jesus. The Manchester City forward’s shot was saved but the rebound fell to Coutinho and the midfielder crossed to the onrushing Neymar, who sent his first-time effort just wide.

Marcelo was replaced by Filipe Luis in the 10th minute but the change did little to halt Brazil’s early momentum as Coutinho, Jesus and Neymar caused problems for Serbia’s defence, particularly on the left side.

The latter two combined superbly just before the half hour mark, but Neymar’s curled shot from a tight angle was tipped away by Stojkovic. The pair again showed uncanny understanding when the No. 9 ran onto Neymar’s pass and cut onto his favored right foot before his shot was blocked.

Serbia’s best chance of the first half came when Aleksandar Mitrovic sent a bicycle kick over the bar after Dusan Tadic’s cross from the left.

Brazil finally took the lead in the 36th minute when Paulinho latched onto Coutinho’s lofted 30-meter pass and lifted the ball over Stojkovic.

It was nothing less than Brazil deserved, having dominated for long periods of the first half.

The European side emerged from the interval with renewed vigor.  Adem Llalic forced a finger-tip save from Alisson and the ball fell to Mitrovic whose shot was blocked by Silva.

Tadic’s delicate chip then sailed narrowly wide of the far post. Serbia had Brazil on the back foot and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic probably should have done better when he fired over with passing options available. Mitrovic then sent a powerful header directly at the goalkeeper.

But Brazil stood firm and scored their second goal against the run of play when Silva rose highest after a Neymar corner to head in at the near post.

Brazil had chances to make it 3-0 with Luis seeing his long-range shot punched clear by Stojkovic and Neymar sending a bouncing shot over the bar.


Brazilian president celebrates World Cup win against Serbia

BRASILIA Brazil (Xinhua) -- After Brazil’s victory against Serbia which saw the squad progress to the knockout stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, President Michel Temer celebrated the result on social media.

Temer watched the Selecao’s 2-0 win on Wednesday at the presidential palace, accompanied by Chief of Staff, Eliseu Padilha, and Minister of Human Rights, Gustavo Rocha.

“Well done, team! Bring on Mexico!” Temer wrote on Twitter, alongside a photo of him celebrating with his ministers in front of a television.

The official Twitter of the Brazilian government also published a message of encouragement before the match.

“It is time to unite with those who have the same passion in their blood. Those who carry the same flag. Those who are different but are together because they are Brazilians. The Brazilian people love football and football unites people,” it read.

Brazil will now face Mexico in the knockout stage on July 2 in the Russian city of Samara.


Brazil deserve to be among World Cup favorites, says Serbia coach

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic said Brazil deserve to be ranked among the World Cup favorites after their 2-0 victory over his team on Wednesday, a result that eliminated the European side from the tournament.

Paulinho and Thiago Silva scored either side of halftime at Spartak Stadium as Brazil claimed top spot in Group E.

“They are not just favorites now. Even before the World Cup they were among the favorites to win,” Krstajic told a news conference after the match.

“Germany, Spain, Argentina were in that group. But anything can happen. We saw Germany knocked out today. Brazil are certainly one of the favorites to win.”

Brazil looked in control for most of the match, except for a brief period in the second half when Serbia bombarded the South American team’s goal.

Krstajic said his players had given their all in their first major competition since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

“We came to show our true colors after eight years of missing major tournaments,” he said. “We can be very pleased with the attitude of the players. It was a hard season. Most players played more than 50 games for their club sides. They gave their all but there were situations where we could have done better.

Serbia finished the group stage with three points from their three matches, having beaten Costa Rica and lost to Switzerland before Wednesday.

Krstajic added: “I want to congratulate the Brazil players for the deserved win and my players for the sacrifice and the fight they showed. I think we were on the front foot in the first half, apart from the situation that led to Brazil’s goal. But these are moments when you have to be focused against teams like Brazil. In the second half we tried to play with more risk.”



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