Scolari showers praise on Neymar

Scolari showers praise on Neymar

Scolari showers praise on Neymar

 Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari paid tribute to forward Neymar after the 22-year-old scored twice in a come-from-behind victory against Croatia in the World Cup opening game on Thursday.

"The only thing we want is that Neymar is happy playing ball. He's a special player," Scolari told reporters after  the 3-1 win gave Brazil a great start in their bid for a record-extending sixth World Cup title.

Brazil fell behind after 11 minutes through Marcelo's own goal but Neymar led the comeback, scoring with a left-footed shot from outside the area and then with a controversial penalty.

"He doesn't need all of you (the media) to demand that he become the best player in the world. His responsibility is to play for Brazil, and that's what he did today," Scolari said.

Neymar said the victory was "more than I ever dreamed or imagined. The merit belongs to the team as a whole, which remained cool and calm to come from behind and win."

Scolari also heaped praise on the Brazil supporters in the 62,103 crowd in Sao Paulo, a city with notoriously fickle fans who booed the team in their final warmup match for the World Cup.

"Our players were excellent, they showed determination to be able to come from behind. They were fantastic," Scolari said.

"But who really deserves praise are the fans. It was wonderful, the support we received here in Sao Paulo. If there's still any notion out there Sao Paulo doesn't root for the national team effusively enough, that was put to rest today." 

Scolari also defended the penalty awarded to his team. “For me it was a penalty. I have seen it 10 times now and I think it was a penalty,” he said.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter had on Wednesday called for managers to be given two challenges per match when they could check key refereeing decisions against video replays to avoid controversies such as these..

The suggestion, which came out of left field at the close of the FIFA congress, would mimic systems used in tennis and cricket and comes with goal-line technology making its World Cup debut in Brazil.