By Terrence Voon
WATCH out, Lions.
Brazil‘s Olympic stars have warned that they will not pull any punches when they face a Singapore Selection in their friendly match tonight (8pm) at the National Stadium.
The Brazilian team are eyeing the football title in Beijing next month.
And, with places in the starting 11 still up for grabs, coach Dunga insisted his men will not be taking it easy against their hosts.
‘It is important to play well and we always want to win,’ said the former Brazil World Cup captain.
‘We have to respect our adversaries. The goals, of course, will depend on the game.’
AC Milan superstar Ronaldinho will captain the Samba warriors. The two-time Fifa World Player of the Year is widely expected to play up front, slightly behind his club teammate and teenage striker Alexandre Pato.
With European-based stars like Lucas Leiva, Anderson and Diego supplying the ammunition from midfield, the Lions are in for a harrowing 90 minutes.
‘We know there is a tactical difference between the two teams,’ said Werder Bremen’s Diego. ‘We need to try to win and put in action what’s been practised at the training sessions.’
At yesterday’s work-out, the Brazilians put on a sizzling display of Samba football. Bicycle kicks, slick one-touch passes, and outrageous flicks were the order of the day as they thrilled a small group of fans at Kallang.
But Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic is not expecting a mauling. Said the Serb: ‘I don’t think there will be a big scoreline. We will play an open game. The players and the supporters won’t enjoy it if we only defend.’
Singapore striker Indra Sahdan, who has scored against big teams like Manchester United, Uruguay and Japan, agreed that his teammates should go on the offensive against the Brazilians.
He said: ‘Hopefully, we can score. It is better to lose while playing attacking football than to sit back all the time.’
With the Lions vowing to go about their usual game, Avramovic has not made any special plans to man-mark stars like Ronaldinho.
‘We don’t concentrate on individuals, because each of the Brazilians can do something special,’ he said.
On the substitutes’ bench, Brazil have an abundance of gifted footballers, like Manchester City’s new signing Jo.
The 21-year-old striker told the media there is an equal spread of talent throughout the squad. ‘This is a big advantage for us, because all the players here are among the best players at their clubs,’ he said.
‘But you don’t just win with talent in football today. You also need to work hard.’
Despite lifting the World Cup five times, Brazil have never won the Olympic title. Winning that title, said Dunga, is more difficult than winning the World Cup.
‘With respect to the World Cup, we have four years to prepare for it,’ he explained. ‘At the Olympics, we have only 15 days because players are coming back from holidays and other competitions.’
At the Beijing Games, Brazil will face New Zealand, Belgium and China in Group C of the men’s football under-23 competition.
Their week-long stopover in Singapore has drawn the attention of the Olympic hosts, who have sent a representative here to report on the Brazilians’ progress.
Li Feiyu, the deputy technical director of the Chinese Football Association, arrived yesterday.
He will be taking notes when the Lions clash with the Samba kings tonight.
‘Brazil are the most skilful team in the tournament and the most dangerous,’ he said. ‘We will be watching them very closely when they play Singapore.’