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February 6, 2013
Star Sport


 

Relaxed Scolari faces England

Brazil's Ronaldinho (left) and teammate Neymar. - AP

LONDON (AP):

After only a day back with the Brazil squad, Luis Felipe Scolari already senses it will be more fun this time. Although expectations are rising back in Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup, Scolari is shrugging off the pressure on him to deliver the country's sixth world title.

After all, the 64-year-old manager has been through it all before: Winning the World Cup and leading a national team at a home tournament.

Brazil's fifth world title came with Scolari at the helm in 2002, and he was rehired after a decade away to provide the experience and familiarity required by the federation for the World Cup on home soil.

The quest to win the trophy in the Maracana in July 2014 begins for Scolari today in another of the world's iconic stadiums, Wembley, with the friendly against England.

Despite spending just one day with the players, Scolari has high hopes - even if it was a struggle to convey his optimism because of a sore throat.

"The atmosphere is a lot lighter, a lot more fun with the players nowadays ... because 10 years ago there were a lot more expectations," he said.

Veteran forward Ronaldinho insists Scolari hasn't lost any of his hunger.

"I don't think there's any danger with such an experienced manager who knows the way to victory," Ronaldinho, who won the World Cup with Scolari in 2002, said through a translator. "And I think we ought to be very glad with that."

Like Brazil's young star Neymar, England's most exciting young talent is also 21, and Jack Wilshere is set to start for his country today for the first time since June 2011 following a series of injury problems.

England coach Roy Hodgson, though, is "anxious" about building up the Arsenal player's abilities.

"Jack is a player who carries a huge weight of responsibility at a young age," Hodgson said.

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