Brazil’s Neymar has reiterated that his side are not out to dazzle the fans at the World Cup, ahead of Friday’s hotly-anticipated quarter-final clash with Colombia.
Despite their star man earning plaudits in recent weeks, with four goals in four games, Brazil themselves have largely underwhelmed thus far, looking less than convincing in topping Group A, while needing extra-time and penalties to overcome Chile in the last 16.
However, Neymar has stressed that the results and not the performances are what people should be concentrating on and moved to quash the recent criticism the team has received.
‘The only thing I expect is to become champions. We will see what happens in the end,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter if we score many goals or if we play one game well and the other badly. Brazil being champions is what matters most to me. It’s all I want'.
‘I don’t want to put on a show. That's the last thing we're looking for,’ he added. ‘We’re here to win and if at some point that means defending for the whole game to win 1-0 then we will.
‘It doesn’t matter if we do not do tricks or do not put a smile on everybody’s face. We’re not here for this goal. What we want is to commit, to run until our last breath and then leave as winners.’
With fellow forwards Hulk and Fred continuing to misfire in front of goal, Neymar also denied too much pressure was being placed on him to carry the Selecao’s hopes, maintaining that the team are functioning well as a unit.
‘I have teammates who help me. Some take the ball, some score, some give a pass,’ he stated. ‘It’s the national team, not one player who decides everything and does everything. It is everyone helping each other so everything goes right.’
Playing in his first World Cup campaign, Neymar already has 35 goals in 53 games for Brazil since making his debut in 2010, standing out as the side’s undisputed talisman going into the tournament.
Despite coming off an up-and-down debut campaign with Barcelona, many touted the 22-year-old for both Player of the Tournament and Golden Boot honours this summer, with those predictions seemingly justified so far by his efforts in spearheading Luiz Felipe Scolari's outfit to the last eight.
With the upcoming matchup against Colombia a tough proposition on paper, Brazil will be praying the Barca frontman is fully fit, after picking up left thigh and right knee injuries in last Saturday’s win over Chile.
His performance noticeably hampered in that game, an ailing Neymar would be a huge blow to the host nation’s chances against their in-form South American rivals, who some have even tipped to cause an upset, largely due to the outstanding displays of their own star man, James Rodriguez.