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Friday October 11, 2013 MYT 7:22:33 PM
Friday October 11, 2013 MYT 7:22:42 PM
by narae kim
Brazilian national soccer team head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari (L) points as players attend a training session at Seoul World Cup stadium in Seoul October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SEOUL (Reuters) - Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari warned South Korean fans not to expect too much Samba skill from his jet-lagged squad when the two World Cup finalists clash in a friendly in Seoul on Saturday.
"Since many were tired after 30-hour flight, we practised one day in an indoor pool and spent another day doing a light workout," Scolari told reporters in Seoul on Friday.
"We don't expect anything. Our players won't have the best conditions tomorrow."
Scolari, who led Brazil to World Cup glory in South Korea in 2002, said that his prized striker Neymar would be fit to play in the friendly clash.
Despite the concerns about tiredness, the Confederations Cup winners are favourites to overcome the Koreans, who struggled through their World Cup qualifying campaign before booking a place in Brazil.
Scolari, though, was cautious about the challenge the Koreans would pose now under former skipper Hong Myung-bo, who was appointed head coach in June.
"South Korea has been playing quite well," the former Portugal, Palmeiras and Chelsea coach said.
"It is advancing to the World Cup for the eighth time now. The record shows it is a strong team."
South Korea suffered a 2-1 home loss to Croatia last month after thrashing Haiti 4-1 and have slipped to 58th in the FIFA rankings. Their lowest position was 62nd in 1996.
Midfielder Ramires echoed his coach's sentiments about the effects the long trip to Seoul had taken on the squad and the challenge the twice Asian champions posed.
"My condition is to be honest not so good due to the 12-hour time difference but we have prepared a lot for this game. We will make it a good game," the Chelsea player said.
"One of the important reasons we came to Korea earlier than usual is to get over the jet lag."
Brazil thrashed Australia 6-0 in a friendly match in September as they continue preparations ahead of hosting the World Cup next year.
But Ramires said he expected a tougher challenge from the Socceroos' Asian Football Confederation rivals, who look unlikely to match the achievements of the 2002 team who finished fourth at their home World Cup.
"I heard 80 percent of the players on the Korean team are currently playing abroad, which means the game tomorrow will be difficult," he warned.
Ramires's team mate at club and international level, David Luiz, also talked up the challenge of the Koreans, highlighting two players to watch out for but admitting he knew little about the others in the squad.
"I think South Korea is one of the strongest teams in the world. I know that nine of them are playing in Europe and that Kim Bo-kyung, who is playing in England as a midfielder, is an outstanding player," the shaggy-haired defender said.
"I also remember Son Heung-min of Leverkusen. Other than two, however, there is no player I know by name."
Brazil will head to China after Saturday's match to face Zambia in Beijing on Tuesday.
(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore, editing by Ed Osmond)
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