Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has reacted angrily to claims that the World Cup fixtures give the host nation an advantage, branding the comments as ‘stupid and ill-intentioned’.
Scolari’s rant appeared to be aimed at Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal, who on Sunday complained about the fact that his side were playing before Brazil on Monday – despite having played their opening two games after the hosts – meaning that the South American outfit will know their potential last-16 opponents before they kick-off.
Brazil play their final Group A match against Cameroon in Brasilia four hours after the Netherlands meet Chile in Sao Paulo for their Group B decider.
Not that their qualification is yet secured as Scolari’s side still need a draw from their clash with Volker Finke’s Cameroon to be certain of even reaching the knockout stages.
A defeat would leave them hoping that Mexico beat Croatia in the other Group A game, being played at the same time in Recife, in order to progress.
But the new Manchester United manager, with echoes of a Sir Alex Ferguson rant about it, accused FIFA of dirty ‘tricks’ and a lack of ‘fair play’ by claiming that the fixture times give Brazil an unfair advantage.
However Scolari blasted the suggestions that his side would not do everything within their power to try to beat Cameroon and put on a good performance for their fans.
He said: “Some people expressed a view that we were going to choose who we were going to play. Those sorts of comments are either stupid or ill-intentioned, I repeat stupid or ill-intentioned.
“We have to play to qualify, not pick and choose our opponents. It was FIFA who chose the kick-off time,” Scolari told a news conference.
The Group A winners play the Group B runners-up on Saturday, while the second-placed team in Group A meet the Group B winners next Sunday. Brazil and Mexico have four points in Group A while Croatia have three and Cameroon, who are already eliminated, have none.
Van Gaal, who is not scared to say what is on his mind, raged against world football's governing body FIFA and suggested the scheduling of the matches will leave his side at a disadvantage.
“FIFA plays these tricks. It's not a good thing of course. It's not fair play,” said the Dutchman.
“We're going to focus on a victory against Chile, and I don't think that will be affected by the fact that Brazil will be playing after us. I'm just assuming that they will do their sporting duty.
“For every match FIFA have this advertisement around fair play,” said Van Gaal. “FIFA plays these tricks and it’s not a good thing. It’s not fair play.
“We’re going to focus on a victory against Chile and I don’t think that will be affected by the fact Brazil will play after us.
“I am just assuming they (Brazil) will do their sporting duty. Why on earth are they (FIFA) doing that (with the match schedule)? That is the question.”
The outspoken manager went on to claim that Scolari’s men would rather not face a Dutch side that can boast of thrashing the World Cup holders Spain and a hard-fought, impressive victory against Australia.
“I can well imagine that Brazil doesn’t want to face Holland. We have scored a lot of goals. True. And we have scored fantastic goals. True as well.”
The Dutch need just a point against Chile to ensure that they top the group on goal difference, as they have scored a significant amount more than their Group B rivals.
However Chile will be keen to avoid a potential clash against the hosts’ themselves, so it should make for another thrilling World Cup tie as they must go for the win if they are to top the group.
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