SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Brazil may have struggled in their World Cup opener but their failure to beat Switzerland has not left the players worrying about qualifying for the knockout phase just yet, midfielder Philippe Coutinho said on Tuesday.
Brazil drew 1-1 with the Swiss and coach Tite stressed that five points have usually been enough to qualify.
However, Coutinho said the players did not consider Friday’s second Group E game against Costa Rica, who lost 1-0 to Serbia in their opener, to be a must-win match.
“We haven’t spoken about (it being a must-win game),” he told reporters after a training session.
“We said after the last game we need to improve. All games are like a final, even more so in the World Cup. We need to take responsibility and our heads have to be in the right place. This game is important and we’re looking for three points.
“We spoke about the possibilities and the ways to qualify and points, we had a meeting about that but we take to the field aiming to win,” the Barcelona midfielder added.
The five-times world champions are among the favourites to lift the trophy but Coutinho warned their supporters that just because Brazil have an unrivalled pedigree they are not going to canter to the title in Moscow on July 15.
“All games are difficult,” he said. “Lots of fans think that because we are Brazil we are going to win easily and score lots of goals. Today everyone is better prepared for a World Cup. That was the message we took from the first game. We need to be 110 per cent to win our matches.”
Brazil were hit by Neymar’s decision to sit out Tuesday’s training session because of a pain in his right ankle.
The Paris St Germain forward appeared for training but spent a few minutes grimacing before retiring to the dressing room.
A team spokesman said the forward would have treatment for the rest of the day and train normally on Wednesday before Brazil head to St Petersburg for the Costa Rica match.
Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Ken Ferris