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Soccer-Brazil's Scolari shows softer side before '30 days hard work'

Reuters

By Andrew Downie

SAO PAULO, June 6 (Reuters) - "Go home and kiss your families" was Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's parting message to his players as he gave them a day off ahead of the World Cup.

The experienced former Chelsea and Portugal coach gave his squad Saturday off to return home after they beat Serbia 1-0 in their final warm-up match on Friday.

"My last words in the dressing room were, 'Go see your family, hug them, kiss them, enjoy them'," he told reporters.

"Take advantage because you might suffer over the next 30-odd days. But the reward is that if you win you are world champions for 1,430 days. So it's 30 days hard work for 1,430 days. It's a good deal if you ask me."

Scolari said he was concerned with his team's weakness in the air and promised to work on tactics and dead-ball situations before this month's World Cup on home soil following Friday's lacklustre win.

Serbia created the better chances but could not score and striker Fred grabbed Brazil's winner in the 57th minute.

It was Brazil's ninth consecutive victory in their last game before they launch their World Cup campaign against Croatia in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

"It was a tough game, both teams played very well," said Scolari.

"They are very big, they made it hard for us to control the ball. When I saw their tactics I knew it would be very hard to win but we did.

"Physically we have nothing to add. Tactically we can do more and we can improve a whole lot in dead-ball situations. I think there were a few chances that we wasted," added Scolari.

"We have good players in the air but we never did enough with the ball. So we will put more focus on that in the week to come."

Scolari singled out Fred for praise following his goal - a typical poacher's effort - and said the Fluminense forward would benefit from the confidence boost.

"Fred said to me before the game, 'I live from goals, I am a centre forward, I need to score', and he quenched that thirst today," the coach added.

"He is only one guy that can score but it is good for him to see that he is getting back to top form.

"You give him one or two chances and he will score. That's why we chose him. It was good for him. I hope he keeps progressing, he did more than just score, he was useful in other areas, in creating chances, too." (Editing by Toby Davis)

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