Brazil reeling after Neymar and Thiago Silva blows
Reaction: Felipe Scolari admits quarter-final refereeing too lenient as Neymar ruled out
“But everyone knows Neymar was going to be hunted. For three matches that has been happening and we have been saying that, but no one thinks that is the case. People think Germany, these or the others, only they are hunted but not Neymar.”
After a game in which Brazil had displayed most of the muscle, with Fernandinho almost laughably seeing through 90 minutes without being booked, you couldn’t help thinking that was a bit rich from Scolari. Then he took us all by surprise in a nuanced criticism of the refereeing in which he suggested his own players had got away too lightly too.
“I think we also participated in one or two moments when our players were tougher than they should be,” he said. “He could have probably stopped both our and their violent game.”
Scolari was speaking before confirmation that Neymar was ruled out, but in fearing the worst he tried to strike an upbeat note: “We are in a situation that is slightly difficult for the Germany match but we have great players. If everything has to be changed then we’ll do that and I think we will have a great game.”
Scolari’s opposite number, José Pekerman, might have been expected to criticise some of what he had seen, but he spoke in a measured and almost intellectual way about tension and intensity, rather than foul play.
“This was a match where we were going to have balance as we had very good players on both sides,” he said. “When that happens, what happens is that you create friction because of the competitiveness because each one wants to win the duel, the position, the area and then it leads to some friction…
“The tension was very high. Brazil needed the victory, we aspired always for the victory and in every play there was a lot of intensity. That sort of interrupted the game. These are two teams that can develop a very good football match, but sometimes this balance produces that sort of thing, that there are faults and that these good players cannot find continuity because of fouls.
“It seems to me that the same thing happened to both teams. We sort of lost the fluidity of the game because of that friction or intensity.”