Tite hopes to lay ghost of defeat to rest

BERLIN • Brazil coach Tite says the "ghost" of their 7-1 mauling by eventual champions Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals still haunts the Selecao, as the teams prepare to meet today at Berlin's Olympic Stadium for the first time since that fateful night.

It remains the five-time world champions' heaviest home defeat and Tite says Brazil still bear the scars from the thrashing.

"This has a huge psychological meaning - no one needs to fool themselves about that," Tite told German magazine Kicker.

"The 7-1 from the World Cup is like a ghost. It's present, people still talk about it but, the more you talk about it, the less this 'ghost' disappears.

"It won't just be a sporting challenge but a huge emotional challenge, too.

"We are preparing to give our best performance but, of course, I also want a good result."

Tite added the friendly game was part of his side's healing process.

"I was watching the match at home in Sao Paulo with my wife and after the third goal went in, she started to cry," he said.

"That started me off. It was a moment of great inspiration for Germany, every shot was a goal - stuff like that doesn't even happen in video games. Sometimes a team comes close to perfection and that's what happened to Germany.

"The wound is still open and the match in Berlin is a part of the process of closing it."

He also told the Brazilian media that Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho will replace Juventus winger Douglas Costa in the only change from the team who beat Russia 3-0 in Moscow last Friday.

Fernandinho was observed to be occupying a holding-midfield role alongside midfielders Casemiro and Paulinho in the team's training session on Sunday, and team-mate Miranda said his inclusion would give greater protection to the back four.

The change in formation also means Barca midfielder Philippe Coutinho will likely be shifted from a central attacking role to the left.

Tite, however, admitted he was under no illusions that Germany are among the favourites to lift the World Cup.

"Tactically, Germany has a lot of options, you saw that at the Confederations Cup (which they won) with high-quality young players," he added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2018, with the headline 'Tite hopes to lay ghost of defeat to rest'. Print Edition | Subscribe