Sneijder: Pretty football won't guarantee our stay

MAKING DO: Wesley Sneijder knows that Holland do not have the personnel to play in their traditional attractive style.

Holland midfielder Wesley Sneijder has told fastidious Dutch football connoisseurs to forget about the side playing pretty at the World Cup, because he does not want to go home just yet.

The continuing debate over the team abandoning their total football philosophy and employing an uglier pressing and counter-attacking style still has Dutch opinion divided — even after the team scored 12 goals in four wins in Brazil to book a quarter-final berth.

“Why must we go into overdrive just so that we are praised by the world for playing good football and trying so hard? Would you rather see us in the airplane going home? I prefer to go for the best option,” he said, as the Dutch readied to depart their base for Salvador, where they meet Costa Rica in the last eight on Sunday morning (Singapore time).

Read the full report in our print edition on July 4. 

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No samba football in sight

Scolari's teams are disciplined, professional outfits

TEAM MAKER: Scolari's (in blue) greatest strength is his ability to forge a team, not a collection of players.
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Thiago: We cried, but we can handle the pressure

Brazil captain Thiago Silva defends team's tears

CRYING GAME: Brazil's players breaking down into tears after their nerve-racking penalty- shootout win over Chile in the Round of 16.
"Sometimes, a team with a lot of potential, if they don’t find the result and they need to win, they can’t play so brilliantly." - Colombia coach Jose Pekerman (left, with James Rodriguez) on Brazil

Brazil captain Thiago Silva insisted this morning that his teammates are mentally tough enough to cope with World Cup pressure, after criticism of the squad’s tears during the last-16 win over Chile. 

 “I think we are good psychologically. We are doing what we love to do,” the Paris Saint-Germain defender said. 

 “There was a lot of pressure to win that match, so we know we had to give all we had, but when you do things with a lot of will and desire, there is no way  to not be emotional.” 

Amid complaints that there have been too many public tears, the squad held a session with the team sports psychologist this week to prepare for their quarter-final clash with Colombia tomorrow morning (Singapore time) in Fortaleza. 

Read the full report in our print edition on July 4. 

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Loew keeps cool despite witch-hunt

Germany's beleaguered coach defiant in the face of intense pressure

"We have not yet delivered our very best. We are going against a class team from France. They are very stable so far. Very, very good, but it is a game of equals and we go into it with all the self-confidence that we have." - Germany coach Joachim Loew (above, holding ball)

Joachim Loew is 24 hours away from a fourth consecutive quarter-final, but the vultures are circling.

German journalists are practically at gates with torches and pitchforks. Even at the Maracana, the witch-hunt shows no sign of abating.

His national media harassed him this morning (Singapore time), goaded him into addressing the astonishingly vitriolic headlines with his name back home.

Read the full report in our print edition on July 4

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France ready to knock out Germany

We'll beat Germany, says confident captain Lloris

COCKSURE COCKERELS? (From left) France’s Mamadou Sakho, Patrice Evra and Karim Benzema having a light moment in training.
“We are not afraid of the Germans... We want to win for France. We believe we can beat Germany.” - France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris

France are preparing without fear. Pressure has been replaced with playfulness in training. The Germans do not intimidate Les Bleus, they excite them.

Skipper Hugo Lloris insists the French are ready to topple their Teutonic rivals.

Their goalkeeper wasn’t irritated by the mild interrogation this morning (Singapore time), he was titillated. The question made him laugh.

Most of his teammates are quarter-final virgins, but the Germans live in the knockout stages.
Surely, a little fear must have spread through the dressing room.

“We are not afraid of the Germans. There is no fear,” the goalkeeper insisted. “I am fully aware that in one match, anything is possible. But there is no fear.

Read the full report in our print edition on July 4

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Former Brazil captain Dunga... Brazil are playing

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Brazil's wonder boy Neymar: I don't mind playing... Ugly

Brazil striker Neymar.
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Navas injury scare

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'Not good enough'

Neuer and assistant coach Koepke admit German machine hasn't clicked into gear

WINNING MENTALITY: Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (above) says the final result, rather than the performance, is what matters.
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