NEWS
Saturday June 22 2013
Scolari: 'Neymar-Balotelli perfect'

Felipe Scolari admits he’d love to see a “perfect” Neymar-Mario Balotelli partnership as Brazil face Italy.

The Seleçao go head-to-head with the Azzurri at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT) for top spot in Confederations Cup Group A. While both have already qualified, going through as group winners would mean avoiding Spain in the semi-final.

“We will play to win, although a draw would also suit us,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“Balotelli is very strong and I’d love to train him. He is an extrovert. Our defenders know his qualities already. He reminds me of Serginho from the 1982 World Cup squad and would make a perfect partnership with Neymar.”

Brazil must do without the injured Paulinho, so Lazio midfielder Hernanes will start, though David Luiz could play even after breaking his nose against Mexico.

“Oscar is tired, as he played many games with Chelsea this season, but he’s still in decent shape. Lucas is also raring to go.

“Dani Alves and Thiago Silva are on yellow cards, so I still have to decide whether to risk them or not. Could I play David Luiz in midfield? It is an option, during the game or from the start.

“I know that Italy will change three or four players from the side that beat Japan.”

Naturally, Scolari was asked about the protests raging across Brazil over the last few days, which so far have caused two deaths and dozens of injuries.

“We all want a better Brazil. I talk about football, not politics, so certain decisions are not up to me. FIFA told us off for having a training session open to the public. Now we’ll have to close them after 15-20 minutes for safety reasons.”

Last night Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff tried to calm the protests via a televised address, assuring the money for the Confederations Cup and World Cup did not come from taxpayers.

She said there would be new plans for public transport, the health care system and pumping oil royalties into education.

Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!

FOOTBALL ITALIA RELATED NEWS

TODAY'S FRONT PAGES