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Scolari tells team to sharpen up

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari yesterday urged his troops to sharpen up a day before their 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil warm-up with Panama.

Scolari blasted his side after a Sunday training session which he said he "didn't like at all" owing to poor marking and perceived sloppiness.

And with only ten days to go to their opening World Cup match against Croatia in Sao Paulo, the man who led the Selecao to glory in 2002 insisted it was time to crack the whip. Sunday, "the marking was sloppy, we left spaces in the middle of the park and took up questionable positions," Scolari observed.

"We cannot let our attitude slip a week before the Cup. We cannot lose the identity which we forged at the Confederations Cup," the dress rehearsal his side won almost 12 months ago.

Today's test at the Serra Dourada stadium in Goiania, some 200 km from the capital Brasilia, is the penultimate chance for Scolari to look at options in reserve.

Friday against Serbia in Sao Paulo is his side's final friendly outing before the real thing starts with the Croatians in a Group A also comprising Mexico and Cameroon.

Scolari, calling for more inventive subtlety and tactical nous from his charges, said the players knew full well what he demanded and expected. "I urged them what I always do — to be serious and play each match as if it were the last."

Scolari can make up to six substitutions in the game against Panama and said he would use the chance to run the rule over the options at his disposal.

Even so, against Croatia he will essentially keep faith with the players who saw off Spain in the FIFA Confederations Cup final.

Scolari, who said he would have liked a few more days to prepare for the 12 June opener at Sao Paulo's Corinthians Arena, said Panama were not to be underestimated.

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