Football

Phil wants more

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari believes there is still room for improvement after their 4-0 thrashing of Panama yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Selecao put on an impressive second-half showing after struggling in the earlier minutes and Scolari (above), who led Brazil to their last World Cup triumph in 2002, wants his charges to step it up as they target their sixth title.

"We still have a week and a half left," said Scolari, referring to Brazil's World Cup opener against Croatia next week.

"There's a good way to go. But keep calm, we'll get there. Today was reasonably better, but I am still demanding more.

"We had problems with the transition," he added. "It was off in the first 20 minutes and things could have been different against a better team.

"If I had to choose one half, it would be the second in which we showed more movement, better possession and more agility. I liked the end of the first half and the whole of the second."

Scolari also lavished praise on Neymar. Besides scoring the first goal, the Barcelona striker had a hand in another and was at the fulcrum of Brazil's play.

IMPROVISE

"Neymar is an athlete who does something different every day," said Scolari. "He improvises well, he is quick, agile and any coach is going to talk him up."

Neymar was injured twice this season, his first in Europe, and Scolari said he would play him again in their last friendly against Serbia on Saturday morning (Singapore time) to keep his momentum going.

Neymar's free-kick strike against Panama was his 200th career goal and 31st for the national team at just 22 years of age, underlining his potency. Scolari has warned his young star that he cannot get caught up in incidents.

"We're working on that aspect," he said. "If the opposition provokes him, he can't react, the one who has to take action is the referee."

Neymar brushed off the provocations and said he is ready to lead Brazil and deal with the weight of expectations. "I've been under pressure since I was a kid," he said. "I am ready for it."

- Reuters.

World Cup