- POSTED: 30 Jun 2014 02:31
A lacklustre Brazil squeaked by Chile to reach the quarter finals thanks to keeper Julio Cesar's penalty-kick heroics, but need to step up their game, the national press said on Sunday.
SAO PAULO: A lacklustre Brazil squeaked by Chile to reach the quarter finals thanks to keeper Julio Cesar's penalty-kick heroics, but need to step up their game, the national press said on Sunday.
The day after the hosts narrowly escaped elimination in a heart-stopping match in Belo Horizonte, the country's front pages celebrated Julio Cesar's two penalty saves, while sports columnists had stinging post-game analyses for coach Luiz Felipe "Big Phil" Scolari and the team.
"Julio Cesar saved Brazil," said O Globo, whose sports pages criticised the team as "lacking a midfield... and playmakers."
"The team needs to be reorganised," wrote columnist Fernando Calazans.
"It's not possible to play well -- it's not possible to play at all -- without a midfield."
"Julio Cesar and the goalpost save Brazil from humiliation at home," said leading newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo's front page, after Chilean defender Gonzalo Jara's final spot-kick glanced off the post, giving the hosts the win.
"Big Phil's team had their worst game against Chile but advanced to the quarter finals on penalty kicks thanks to the keeper," said Folha, which ran several columns criticising the team's performance.
Juca Kfouri, one of the country's most widely read sports columnists, said the match had brought "redemption" for Julio Cesar, who was excoriated for his performance in the World Cup quarter finals four years ago, when Brazil were eliminated by the Netherlands.
"Hail Cesar" was sports daily Lance's headline, printed over a giant photo of the 34-year-old keeper.
But O Estado de Sao Paulo's sports pages warned that "Brazil are alive, but need to get a lot better."
"We have to improve for the quarter finals. A lot," said columnist Almir Leite.