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Soccer-Scolari backs Brazil's "spectacular" defence

Reuters

By Brian Homewood

BRASILIA, June 23 (Reuters) - Brazil's defence may have given their fans the jitters in their three World Cup games so far but coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said he did not have "one drop of fear" about his back four after the 4-1 win over Cameroon on Monday.

Scolari was also pleased that his team were improving with every game, although he said he would have preferred to have avoided second round opponents Chile.

"We could have scored seven or eight and conceded a couple more goals," Scolari told reporters after his team finished top of Group A.

"We have improved again and for the next game we should improve a little bit more."

Although the final scoreline was emphatic, Brazil suffered some anxious moments after being pegged back to 1-1 during the first half when they gave Cameroon chances that more ruthless teams might have punished them for.

"I don't have one little drop of fear about the defence, they are spectacular, (although) naturally they can be beaten like any defence," said the man known as Big Phil.

"David Luiz is one of the most important players in the team," he added, referring to the central defender who many critics see as erratic.

"I like the way the team played, there were some highs and lows which is normal and sometimes we lost the ball in midfield, which made us anxious."

However, Scolari added that there was too much of a gap between the midfield and attack which was rectified at halftime, and too many long balls forward for Neymar and Hulk to chase.

"With the first long ball, we were close to scoring and the same thing happened with the second, so we started persisting with the long ball," he said.

"We had a small problem in the first half when Oscar joined the attack. Oscar and Hulk should have been (dropping back to) look for the ball, and there were a series of details which sorted out at halftime."

Brazil face Chile in Belo Horizonte on Saturday and Scolari said there could be no room for slip-ups.

"If I could chose, I would chose another team," he said. "They are more difficult because they are South American, they play with cunning and gamesmanship, quality and organisation, Chile have all of these." (Reporting By Brian Homewood, Editing by Nigel Hunt)

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