Scolari: We can become a great team
© AFP

Luiz Felipe Scolari believes Brazil can grow into a great side after seeing his Neymar-inspired outfit sweep past Japan 3-0 in their FIFA Confederations Cup opener.

Never a man to get carried away, the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™-winning coach was visibly pleased after A Seleção sent the Asian champions packing in Brasilia in their Group A clash.

"I believe what pleased me most was the result," said Scolari, the man to whom Brazil impatiently turned ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup draw last November, after dumping Mano Menezes shortly after the latter had overseen a 4-0 friendly win over the Japanese. "If we can keep evolving tactically, and the players can deal with whatever gets thrown at them, then we can become a great team.

"I think Neymar did a really great job. He went off as he took a knock," he added, referring to scorer of Brazil's first goal being substituted in the closing stages.

Scolari alluded to the difficulty of keeping the demanding Brazil supporters happy by saying that "if you can score in the opening three minutes then of course the crowd is going to be more friendly to us and get behind us."

If we can keep evolving tactically, and the players can deal with whatever gets thrown at them, then we can become a great team.
Luiz Felipe Scolari

With Mexico, their Men's Olympic Football Tournament final conquerors, to come on Wednesday before a showdown with three-time world champions Italy, Scolari said Brazil must not think they already have a foot in the semi-finals.

He warned: "We must beware of Mexico and get over that hurdle. Mexico have been making life complicated for us for a few years now."

Fred plaudits
While praising Neymar, as he has done regularly throughout a recent barren patch in terms of goals, Scolari made a point of also lauding No9 Fred, who did not add to his recent tally of five goals in six internationals but chose to chest the ball down for Neymar's superlative strike.

"Fred does not just goal hang and sit around and score," said the former Chelsea manager. "Players need to know how to position themselves and that's why Fred is very useful.

"I think we are evolving. We need to be more compact. We are not perfect, but if we can keep our balance and shape, we can match any opponent."