Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2014 Contents A67
June 15, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Neymar is in charge of Brazil s attack
at the World Cup. Now it s also clear
that Oscar is the man commanding
Neymar was voted man of the
match in the opener against Croatia,
but Oscar also received a lot of the
praise for his performance, helping
erase lingering doubts about who
should be playing in the middle for
As the hosts prepare to face Mexico
in its second Group A match, most
people have stopped questioning
whether Oscar should be in the lineup,
as they were before Brazil made its
World Cup debut.
Oscar silenced his critics by scoring
a goal and helping set up another in
Thursday s 3-1 win over Croatia in the
opener in Sao Paulo.
"Neymar got man of the match, but
if there was a second award it should
go to Oscar," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe
Scolari said after the game. "He was
fantastic and that s the kind of player
he is. I have always believed in him."
Oscar said he was never worried
about being benched and knew from
the beginning that Scolari trusted him.
"I ve have always known that Felipao
has trust in me, that s not new," he
said, using Scolari s nickname. "And
I showed on the field that he can keep
trusting me. I just have to keep playing
as hard as I can to help Brazil get the
Oscar stole a ball near midfield to
set up Neymar s first goal on Thursday,
then found the net with a toe poke
from outside the area in a breakaway
in second-half injury time.
Oscar had not being playing well
before the World Cup, however. He
struggled especially in the team s final
warm-up match before the World Cup,
prompting talks about him possibly
losing his spot to Chelsea teammate
Willian, who had been training well
during Brazil s preparations.
"We all know that the national team
has good players who can get in at
any time," Oscar said. "It s not only
Willian who can get in, anybody can
get in and play well."
Scolari has been saying that Oscar
is a key piece in Brazil s midfield. He
plays in front of defensive midfielders
Luiz Gustavo and Paulinho and is the
man directly responsible for feeding
balls to Neymar, Fred and Hulk in
Brazil s attack.
"I can play in any position," said
Oscar, who recently had to leave
Brazil s training camp for the birth of
his daughter. "It doesn t really matter
to me where I play, I just want to help
Brazil win this title."
The Players Corner
Brazil's Oscar, left, and Croatia's Sime Vrsaljko battle for the ball during the group
A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Croatia, the opening game of the
tournament, in the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday.
CURITIBA---Spain s players dis-
missed notions that a 5-1 loss to
the Netherlands spelled the end
of an era for the world champions,
although coach Vicente del Bosque
said it might be time to shake up
the lineup for a crucial match
"I think the majority of people
have confidence in us. We accept
criticism, but it s crazy to talk about
the end of an era," defender Sergio
Ramos said yesterday, a day after
Spain endured its worst competitive
defeat in 64 years.
"Excuses are for losers and Spain
has a winning mentality, and that
will never change."
Spain s bid to repeat as world
champion could end if it loses
Wednesday s match against Chile
at the Maracana. Chile beat Aus-
tralia 3-1 to start off Group B play
with 3 points like the Netherlands.
Del Bosque defended his decision
to stick with some of the squad s
older players, saying players like
Xavi Hernandez, Iker Casillas, and
Xabi Alonso were the backbone of
a team that has provided so much
of its success, including qualifying
it for Brazil.
"I sense these players are not too
old, but I say that with some hes-
itation," Del Bosque said. "I believe
they have the maturity and the skill
to take on this challenge. Those
that are over 30 are more respon-
sible because of everything they
have won in their careers.
"One problem is that we have
been so used to having everything
go our way. In the face of tough
matches we should be prepared to
Spain has gone on an unprece-
dented run since winning Euro
2008, but Del Bosque has done little
tinkering with the core of that same
team six years later. Spain has a
generous amount of talented players
that could likely slide right in like
Javi Martinez, Koke, and Cesc Fab-
regas. And they may get their
chance against Chile.
"There could be changes, but
now is not the moment to talk
about it. I don t want to rush things
and make a wrong decision," said
Del Bosque, who expected Chile to
bring a similar style as the Dutch
with high pressure up the field.
"And if there are changes, it s not
meant to be treated as a message
Del Bosque did not speculate over
whether he would stick with striker
Diego Costa or return to using Fab-
regas as a "false striker" that has
been so successful.
Casillas made several errors to
allow easy goals, but Del Bosque
did not sound inclined Saturday to
drop his captain.
"When Iker got into the dressing
room he made sure to address
everybody despite the solemn
silence, he apologised for his play
and began the recovery process that
we needed, he acted like a captain,"
Del Bosque said.
Spain was in this situation four
years ago in South Africa when it
opened with a 1-0 loss to Switzer-
land. Sixteen players are back from
that team, and the next test will be
whether they can recover from such
a beating. Ramos said nerves were
not an issue.
"We ve gone through difficult
moments before," the Real Madrid
centre back said, "but we have to
keep away from feeling any nerves
and focus on staying motivated."
Ramos says not
the end for Spain
Netherlands' Arjen Robben kicks the ball past Spain's Sergio Ramos to
score his side's second goal during the second half of the group B World
Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena
Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Friday. AP PHOTO
CUIABA---If shell-shocked Spain
coach Vicente del Bosque is look-
ing for some insights into how to
beat Chile next week and preserve
his team s status in the World
Cup, he could do a lot worse than
get on the phone to Tim Cahill.
The Australia forward may have
ended up on the losing side in Fri-
day s 3-1 defeat to Chile in Cuiaba,
but he delivered a performance
that will be encouraging not just
to the Socceroos but also to Spain
fans desperate for some solace after
the 5-1 thrashing by the Nether-
lands elsewhere in Group B.
Cahill exposed the chief weak-
ness of the Chileans---a suspect
central defense---by scoring one
goal and almost adding two or three
more in a powerful display of aerial
Del Bosque will surely have taken
"Tim was outstanding," Australia
coach Ange Postecoglou said. "Par-
ticularly in the air, he is still world
class. There is no one in the tour-
nament who would like to be one
on one with him.
"They only way they could stop
That type of underhand tactic
was a huge source of frustration
to Cahill, who found little conso-
lation in scoring a goal in a third
straight World Cup and extending
his record all-time goal tally for
the Socceroos to 33.
The New York Red Bulls star told
reporters about one exchange he
had with Chile s left back, Eugenio
Mena, during the match.
"There was an incident where
the left back elbowed me and
kicked out at me when I was trying
to run past him for a cross, and
I ve got the yellow card," Cahill
said. "I called him a cheat and he
said, Yeah, I m a cheat, so what? "
Cahill was also seen squaring up
to Gary Medel, the Chile center
back he outjumped to score Aus-
tralia s only goal at Arena Pantanal,
and engage in what appeared a
heated conversation with Chile
midfielder Arturo Vidal as they left
the pitch at the end of the first
"I said to Vidal, This is no good,
this needs to be out of the game, "
said Cahill, who added that Chile
resorted to that kind of games-
manship as Australia piled on the
pressure in the second half when
"They sensed it, everything
started turning into grappling,
everything they did started to slow
the game down and they were get-
ting a lot of free kicks in their favor.
It s fine, because this is a great
learning curve for this team and
what we re trying to do."
Evergreen Cahill offers hope to Australia, Spain
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