TERESõPOLIS, Brazil – Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari defended his record as the football-mad nation struggled to absorb the World Cup debacle against Germany.
A day after Brazil's hopes of a sixth World Cup had been crushed in a record 7-1 semi-final defeat to the Germans, Scolari awoke to find many newspapers calling for his head.
But in a combative press conference at Brazil's training camp outside Rio, Scolari batted away questions about his future, saying he would not discuss it until the World Cup was over.
And he insisted that despite the catastrophic end to Brazil's campaign, the overall performance in the tournament had not been as bad as suggested.
“Nobody will die (as a result of the loss). We will look to correct the path of our lives to deal with yesterday´s tsunami,” Scolari said.
“f we had lost 1-0 it would not be a catastophe.
“It's the first time we reached a semi-final since 2002 so maybe our work wasn't so bad,” Scolari said.
“We win and we lose together. There are good and bad moments. I know people feel bitterness and shame.
“But life goes on. We shall look ahead to other goals, starting with securing third place on Saturday.
“I thank my players. In a year and a half together we played 28 games and won 19, drew six and lost three.
“In official games we won eight, drew two and lost this one – ok, catastrophically. But this episode is over now. We must look forward.”
Scolari has faced calls to go after Tuesday's debacle in Belo Horizonte.
“Go To Hell Felipao,” the daily O Dia newspaper said along with a photo splash of the manager holding up seven fingers during the game.
Scolari was adamant however that his side had prepared well.
“This defeat hurt us deeply but we had a system going in (to the event) and were confident it would get us results,” Scolari said.
“The first 10 minutes we were good but then we conceded and then there followed those six fatal minutes,” he added referring to the disastrous spell where Brazil conceded four goals in six minutes.
“We have a good team, good players – most did a good job,” added Scolari, who bemoaned his team's ability to reproduce the form which won last year's Confederations Cup.
“We did not have the same level as last year,” he said.
“We played pretty well in the opening phase but then it was tough against Chile and we were not at our best against Colombia but we pulled out a result. “Against Germany, after those few fateful minutes we could not dig ourselves out.”
Brazil´s 2002 World Cup-winning coach said his squad remained a work in progress compared to their conquerors.
“You have to progress gradually as the Germans have been doing. They are now in their first final,” he said.
Scolari said his future would be settled after the World Cup.
“We have a commitment with the CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation) until the end of the World Cup,” he said.
“And the end of the World Cup is Saturday,” he added referring to the play-off.
“It is only after this game we will talk with the direction of the CBF, that's when we will decide,” added Scolari, who started a second stint as Brazil coach in December 2012. – Sapa-AFP