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Soccer-Team psychologist keeps us grounded, Brazil say

Reuters

By Gideon Long

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, July 7 (Reuters) - The Brazil players talk to their team psychologist about all sorts of issues, some totally unrelated to football, captain Thiago Silva said on Monday.

Brazil have employed a sports psychologist, Regina Brandao, to help them through the World Cup and she has been holding group therapy sessions at the team training camp.

"With Regina we speak about all sorts of things, even things that aren't related to football, to make sure we're at ease," Thiago Silva told a news conference ahead of Tuesday's semi-final against Germany which he will miss due to suspension.

"If we're not at ease off the pitch then things might not happen as we want on it," he said.

Thiago Silva said Brandao and the players had talked about the injury to their leading striker Neymar, which has ruled him out of the rest of the World Cup.

"Neymar was something we spoke about a lot," he said. "She emphasised that we all had to feel at ease because Neymar's already done what he had to do so now it's down to the other players."

Thiago Silva also revealed that when Chile's Mauricio Pinilla crashed a shot against the Brazilian crossbar in the final minutes of their second-round match, the players took it as a good sign.

"After that moment I heard people saying that if the ball didn't go in then it wouldn't go in at all. Even (Brazilian goalkeeper) Julio Cesar said that before the penalty kicks. He said when that ball hit the crossbar it was great sign."

Pinilla's late effort would have almost certainly won the match for Chile and knocked Brazil out of the World Cup.

But after it came off the woodwork the match went to a penalty shootout which Brazil won, Cesar saving two of Chile's spot-kicks. (Editing by Ed Osmond)

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