Parreira: Time for everyone to wake up
The weather seemed to have been served up on a plate for Brazil as the world champions put in a final training session at Nuremberg's Frankenstadion ahead of Saturday's FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final against Germany.
But the blazing sunshine and temperatures of 30 degrees in the shade proved too much even for the tropically attuned South Americans. "The heat won't make it easy for us. But we're still well prepared to take on a strong German side," defender Gilberto said.
The hour-long workout was a relatively relaxed affair, designed not to consume too much energy. The squad started with stretching exercises and keepy-up routines before a gentle training match. Ronaldinho, Kaka and company visibly enjoyed letting the ball do the work, before coach Carlos Alberto Parreira rounded off the session with the potentially critical business of penalty practice.
Brazil are clearly not discounting the game going to a shoot-out "but this is only just in case," the coach smiled, "because no-one knows what might happen tomorrow." The players broke into two groups before firing at will from the spot. The aim is to leave nothing to chance and cover all eventualities. Parreira is working hard on his players' mental focus, as some of the star names are close to breaking point after the rigours of a long season.
"This match won't be a question of physical fitness. It'll be about mental fitness. The players would normally be on holiday already, but instead we're here at a vital tournament," the coach explained. "But it's time for everyone to wake up. It's a one-off match in a very important competition. We're playing the hosts in the semi-finals, in front of a full house. I can't have anyone complaining of mental fatigue."
The players are excited about taking on the host nation. "The rest day has given us the opportunity to really focus on our preparations ahead of a very tough match. But we want to do more than just turn up and win. We want to play good football," Robinho declared. Team-mate Edu added: "It'll be a difficult match between two fine teams. The heat could be a real problem. We'll do our best to control the match and deny them space."
The world champions hope to have put behind them their defeat by Mexico and the draw with Japan, and are gunning for victory. "We'll go out there looking to win," concluded Kaka.