LONDON (Reuters) - Brazil striker Neymar, who has scored 43 times for his country and is still only 23, can break Pele's long-standing record of 77 international goals, coach Dunga said on Saturday. Pele, widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, also helped Brazil win three World Cups, in 1958, 1962 and 1970, and that is the record Dunga really wants Neymar to emulate.
"Neymar is doing very well and will only grow," he told a news conference. "In regard to goals I don't think that will be a problem. But the record we really want him to get is Pele's number of World Cup wins." Dunga was speaking ahead of the friendly against Chile at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium on Sunday in a repeat of the World Cup second-round game last June.
Scraping through that match on penalties, then beating Colombia in the next round encouraged Brazil's fanatical fans to believe their team could go all the way and become champions of the world again. But in the semi-final they suffered the greatest humiliation in the history of the country's football by losing 7-1 to eventual winners Germany, after trailing 7-0 within 70 minutes and only scoring in added time. The road back to respectability has been a long one but since Dunga replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari, who resigned immediately after the World Cup, Brazil have won all seven games, scoring 17 goals while conceding only two and beating opposition as strong as Colombia, Argentina and France. Neymar, who joined Barcelona from Santos in 2013, has scored eight of those goals, including one in the 3-1 win in France on Thursday. Brazil have no new injury problems though Dunga said he will make changes.
David Luiz and striker Diego Tardelli are both missing again but London fans will see plenty of familiar faces including Chelsea trio Oscar, Willian and Filipe Luis.
Brazil defender Gabriel Paulista could be up against his Arsenal team mate Alexis Sanchez. An Arsenal spokesman said the game was sold out with a capacity crowd of 60,000.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)