Scolari says protests could hurt Brazil’s chances
SAO PAULO,BRAZIL (BDCi) — Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is worried the street protests that are planned during the World Cup might hurt Brazil’s chances of winning the title.
Scolari says that although Brazilians have a right to complain about the government and demand improvements, perhaps the protests won’t be coming at the “right time.”
He said the protests “could, big time” affect his players’ performance during the World Cup, although he will not prohibit them from talking about the subject during the tournament.
In an interview with Globo TV late Sunday, Scolari also said Brazil should have done a better job in its preparations for the World Cup and said he has already made up his mind on 21 of the 23 players of his squad.
Violent anti-government protests erupted across Brazil last year as people took to the streets calling for better services and questioning the billions spent on hosting the World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics. The protests have since diminished in size, but they are widely expected again in the run-up to the World Cup.
“I think the protests can happen,”Scolari said. “If they are peaceful, then that’s democracy. Everyone has the right to protest. But I don’t know if it’s the right time.”
The coach has already tried to distance the national team from the protests during last year’s Confederations Cup, when the largest public demonstrations in a generation broke out at the start of the warm-up tournament. Protests happened in all six host cities at the time, although matches and teams were not directly affected as Brazil went on to win the title.
The players openly talked about the protests last year and the coach said they will be allowed to do so again during the World Cup.
“They are national team players and they are on a mission,” he said. “They can express themselves and say ‘look I also want a better Brazil’, but I don’t want it to be something that causes problems to our environment.”
Scolari also criticized Brazil’s preparations for the World Cup, saying that the country wasted time and should have done more to get things done more quickly.
“We could have done a better job to take advantage of these seven years that we had to prepare everything that was going to be needed, from airports to roads to education,” he said. “But we lost time and now we are out of time.”
Scolari confirmed last week nine players who will make the Brazil squad– David Luiz, Oscar, Ramires, Willian, Paulinho, Julio Cesar, Thiago Silva, Fred and Neymar and on Sunday he said there are only two spots remaining.
Scolario will officially announce the entire 23-man squad on May 7. Seven possible alternates will be announced later.
Brazil will play friendlies against Panama and Serbia just before the World Cup opener against Croatia on June 12.