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Young Brazil squad feeling the pressure

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

TERESOPOLIS, Brazil - Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari admits that a lack of experience is hurting Brazil's young squad at the World Cup.

The coach is also blaming the team's struggles, which include a disappointing performance that nearly led to its elimination by Chile in the second round, on the pressure of succeeding in front of the home fans.

Brazil has only six players from past World Cups, and some of its top stars, including Neymar, are playing in football's biggest stage for the first time.

"Of course it's a concern, we have a young team," Scolari said after Brazil's win over Chile in a penalty shootout.

"Even the most experienced players will feel the pressure of a World Cup. Everybody feels it. If you say that you don't feel it, you are lying. It's a different situation emotionally, it's never simple. We have a lot of young players, and little by little they will gain more of this experience." The coach used the example of young midfielder Willian, who is one of the team's best penalty takers in training but sent his shot wide in Saturday's shootout in Belo Horizonte. Scolari said "experience" likely played a role in his miss.

"We will be gaining more experience in each match we play," the coach said. "Hopefully, in the next matches we will be making fewer mistakes because of this lack of experience. We can't lose anymore." Brazil will play South American rival Colombia in the quarterfinals on Friday in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.

Meanwhile, Brazil's press chief Rodrigo Paiva has been suspended for one game following allegations he punched Chilean player Mauricio Pinilla during the game between the two countries, FIFA said.

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