Brazil captain Thiago Silva insisted on Thursday his teammates were 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 on Thursday.
“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 quarterfinal clash with Colombia on Friday in Fortaleza.
Silva, with coach Luiz Felipe Scolari sat next to him, dismissed criticism of his leadership.
“When those things are said we have to look away. The leader is beside me, he is the commander and backs me so I don’t care what people from the outside say.
“I just need to think about my job. This is the way I am, I am very emotional and this a very natural thing. This doesn’t affect me at any time on the pitch.
“I don’t think the emotion makes anything more difficult. I have overcome difficult moments. I had tuberculosis and had my life at risk, but I am a champion on and off the pitch and I show maturity and respect.”
Brazil’s 1970 World Cup-winning captain Carlos Alberto triggered debate by accusing the Selecao of crying too easily.
“The team is crying when they’re singing the anthem, when they get hurt, when they shoot penalties! Come on… Stop crying! Enough!” he said.
Scolari defended his players’ response to Saturday’s triumph, recalling a time during his stint in charge of Portugal when former world player of the year Luis Figo prayed in the dressing room as his side beat England on penalties.
“Everyone responds in a different way,” he said.
“We have to respect these individualities because it is not these things but the attitudes on the pitch that help the team.”
Scolari is maintaining his insistence that Brazil will win the World Cup, despite a less than stellar four games from his side so far in the competition.
“There are seven steps and we are going onto the fifth. All those statements were fantastic, it shouldn’t be any different.
“Our supporters don’t expect any different. They want us to show them how we are going to win it.”
Colombia come into the game having won all four of their games, thanks in large part to five goals from the tournament’s top scorer James Rodriguez.
Scolari believes Colombia’s more offensive style can benefit Brazil’s flair players after 120 minutes of battle against Chile.
“Colombia is a more technical team than Chile,” said Scolari.
“Chile have more strength and play with a spirit which makes the game dynamics very different. The rivalry with Colombia is not the same as with Chile, Argentina or Uruguay.
“It was much more difficult against Chile. Colombia are also a great team with some great players, but when we don’t have these rivalries our players feel more at ease.”
Silva vowed to make amends to the fans in Fortaleza having been held to a goalless draw there by Mexico in the group stages.
“Colombia have a similar team to ours, we are two teams that like to play technical football,” he added.
“These are two teams with a lot of quality and the ones who benefit from that is the supporters. We want to reward the supporters with goals given we didn’t manage to score here in the last match.”
© Sapa – AFP