Brazil coach bemoans bad luck against Belgium

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Kazan (Russia), July 7 (IANS) Luck was not on Brazil’s side here in their 2-1 defeat to Belgium in a World Cup quarterfinal, the South Americans’ coach said afterward, even as he praised the performance of the Belgians.

“Randomness, accidents, they happen. And today they happened. It hurts to say that. That is not to undermine Belgium, who are a great team. But chance was cruel to us. It was so hard and it is very hard to accept,” Tite told reporters in Kazan on Friday after the match, Efe news reported.

Following the elimination of fellow pre-tournament favourites Germany, Spain, and Argentina, Brazil were expected to get past the Belgians and claim a sixth World Cup title.

But Belgium took a 2-0 lead to the dressing room and hung on for the 2-1 triumph.

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Neymar looked likely to equalize for Brazil in the 93rd minute until Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois tipped the ball over the cross-bar at the last second.

“Football has a randomness but I don’t like to talk about luck. When it is on our side it is a polite way of putting down the opponent. So I don’t believe in luck. Was Courtois lucky? No, he was great. It hit the woodwork, what can you do. Belgium were competent and effective,” Tite said.

“We had the upper hand for two-thirds of the game, a very high quality game,” the Brazil coach said. “Belgium turned their chances into goals. It’s very difficult to say this but it was a great game. Two very impressive teams technically.”

Tite expressed pride in his players and staff and said that any mistakes Brazil might have made could not be attributed to a lack of commitment.

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Meanwhile, legendary striker Ronaldo has backed Tite to remain coach of Brazil despite the team’s defeat to Belgium, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I think that Tite should stay,” Ronaldo, a two-time World Cup winner with Brazil, said in his commentary for TV Globo.

“He is a sensational guy and is doing a sensational job. His work has to continue. In fact, his responsibility should extend to youth football. And the Brazilian league needs to adopt the changes that he is seeking.”

Tite took charge of Brazil in June 2016, with the team languishing in sixth place in the World Cup’s South American qualifying group.

He oversaw an immediate change of fortunes as the Selecao won nine consecutive qualifiers to become the first team to secure a place in Russia.

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–IANS

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