Casemiro wants a better showing from Selecao
Five-time world champions Brazil had promised to dazzle fans at the National Stadium in their friendly matches, but a limp performance in a 1-1 stalemate with Senegal on Thursday night left plenty to be desired.
It was no surprise then, that Brazil and Real Madrid's midfield lynchpin Casemiro has urged his Selecao teammates to up the ante on Sunday against Nigeria.
Speaking at a media conference at JW Marriott South Beach hotel on Friday night (Oct 11), Casemiro admitted that his side had been disappointing against Senegal.
Said the 27-year-old, who has established himself as a key player for club and country: "We have no doubt that it wasn't our best game.
"Everybody could see that. We are honest and we know that ourselves. On Sunday, we have another match to show our quality, to show why we are in the national team.
"We will review our match against Senegal to see what we need to develop. When you play for Brazil, your have to give your best.
"We know that was not our game. We know how we played in Copa America and we haven't played like that in the last three matches. We have the potential to play better than this."
Just three months ago, Brazil were crowned the best in South America after a 3-1 win over Peru in the Copa America final. But what followed was a series of unconvincing performances in friendlies.
Since then, the Selecao have been on a three-game winless run which includes the draw against Senegal, a 2-2 stalemate with Colombia and a 1-0 loss to Peru.
The last time that Brazil went on a similar run was from Nov 2012-March 2013. Then, they were on a four-game winless streak, which included friendly defeats by Argentina and England, and draws with Russia and Italy.
DIP IN FORM
Casemiro, who has 44 caps for his country, doesn't know where the problem lies for Brazil's dip in form.
He said: "It's difficult to talk about the results. We had two draws and one loss. The coach with his experience, maybe he can realise what's happening but it's difficult to just choose one thing to explain why we aren't playing well."
In recent months, Brazil coach Tite has also been criticised for not refreshing the squad with young players who could form the core of the team at the 2022 World Cup.
In the squad that he has brought here, Tite had named four new debutants – including Atletico Madrid fullback Renan Lodi and Gremio midfielder Matheus Henrique, who earned their first caps against Senegal.
Casemiro said it was important for fans to be patient as the new men find their feet in the squad. He added: "We are trying to grow and test new players. They are training with us, playing with us and learning. We must remember that we are playing friendlies. We can try to do new things. It's a period to give opportunities for players."
Alongside his wishes to see his national team improve, Casemiro also shared his thoughts on the poor attendance at the National Stadium on Thursday.
The 20,621 turnout filled only half the stadium, in contrast with the 51,577-strong crowd that filled the venue to the brim when the Selecao thrashed Japan 4-0 at the same venue in 2014.
Said Casemiro: "I don't know why it happened. The hotels are always full with fans. I don't know why the stadium was (half) empty. Sure, we always want to play in front of a lot of fans, but our responsibility is to try and do our best whether the crowd is there or not.
"It's our work and we are always trying to do our best."