The Norman Transcript

Sports

July 8, 2014

Scolari: Brazil will be playing for nation, injured star

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — Neymar helped Brazil get this far at the World Cup. Now it’s up to the rest of the team to win for its injured star, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said Monday.

Neymar will miss today’s semifinal against Germany because of a fractured bone in his back, an injury that ruled him out of the World Cup and dealt a huge blow to the nation’s hopes for a title at home.

“Now we have to do our part,” Scolari said Monday. “We will be playing not only for ourselves, for our country, for our dreams, but each one of us will be playing a little for Neymar because of everything that he has done for us.”

Scolari said the team is over the shock of losing the player and has changed the focus to trying to get ready for the match against Germany. He said Neymar, who scored four goals in the group stage, had already done enough for the national team.

“When Neymar had to go, he left a lot of him with us and he took a lot of us with him,” Scolari said. “We are already done with this process of being sad. When Neymar himself began talking to the other players after what happened, they understood that he has done his part already.”

Scolari called Neymar “one of our references” and “one of the best in the world,” but he reminded that Brazil has “22 other players who know they are special.”

“We will miss Neymar’s competiveness, his happiness,” Scolari said. “But we have a group of quality players and they can overcome the challenges and help the team advance.”

Germany coach Joachim Loew said he expects Brazil to be extra motivated because of Neymar’s absence.

“I’m certain all the other players will be fighting for him, fighting for their nation,” Loew said.

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