Paulinho: Brazil bet­ter pre­pared now than 2014

New Straits Times - - SPORT -

SOCHI: Brazil mid­fielder Paulinho be­lieves his side are in much bet­ter shape head­ing into this year’s World Cup in Rus­sia than they were as the host na­tion four years ago.

Now 29, Paulinho was part of Luiz Felipe Sco­lari’s side in 2014 as they were hu­mil­i­ated by Ger­many in the semi-fi­nals, los­ing 7-1.

He came off the bench in that match and is one of only four play­ers in Tite’s squad this year in Rus­sia who ap­peared on that fate­ful night in Belo Hor­i­zonte. Thi­ago Silva was in the squad but was sus­pended, while Ney­mar was in­jured.

Brazil come into this year’s tour­na­ment, and their open­ing game against Switzer­land on Sun­day, hav­ing lost just once in 21 out­ings over the past two years.

“We have greater con­fi­dence. From the way things are go­ing for the Brazil team at the mo­ment, it is clear that con­fi­dence is bet­ter,” the Barcelona mid­fielder told re­porters on Wed­nes­day at the team’s train­ing base in the Black Sea re­sort city of Sochi.

“Brazil are bet­ter pre­pared in a num­ber of ways. That is just part of foot­ball — in four years you learn a lot of things.”

“What we have done in these last four years is put the past to one side,” he added. “Now we have an­other op­por­tu­nity and I want to do bet­ter. That is life. Foot­ball is good be­cause it gives you other op­por­tu­ni­ties very quickly.”

Since 2014, the for­mer Tottenham Hot­spur mid­fielder has had a spell in China be­fore mov­ing to Barcelona last year.

That move came as a sur­prise to many but he has en­joyed a suc­cess­ful sea­son in a Barcelona side that won the do­mes­tic dou­ble and is now one of the older heads in the Sele­cao.

How­ever, he said coach Tite — un­der whom he played at Sao Paulo gi­ants Corinthi­ans — was keen to “di­vide up” the re­spon­si­bil­ity be­tween the younger and the more ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers.

“A player who has never been to a World Cup can bring their own ex­pe­ri­ence, give some­thing to me as I come into my sec­ond World Cup,” said Paulinho.

“When I went to play at my first World Cup, one of the peo­ple I sought out to speak to was Thi­ago Silva, who is my friend and some­one I care about a lot. Or Daniel Alves.

“But re­gard­less of whether we have played one, two or three World Cups, there is some­thing to trans­mit. The great thing about the Brazil­ian squad is that every­one adds some­thing.”

Af­ter fac­ing the Swiss in Ros­tov-on-Don, Brazil also take on Costa Rica and Ser­bia in Group E.

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan (right) with Ilkay Gun­do­gan (left) and Me­sut Ozil in Lon­don on May 13, 2018.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.