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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK

Brazil open the door to success

By Phil McNulty
BBC Sport Online's man in Japan

Brazil v Turkey semi-final | Saitama
Wed Jun 26 2002 | 1230 BST
Live on BBC1 & Radio Five Live

If the World Cup was awarded to the most relaxed team in the tournament, Brazil would already be celebrating a fifth trophy win.

Coach Felipe Scolari's open-doors approach is a far cry from the secrecy and subterfuge that surrounded many of Brazil's contenders for the crown.

It is certainly in sharp contrast to England's policy of keeping every small detail of their plans under wraps.

England's so-called "open" training sessions consisted of watching players pass a ball to each other from a distance of fully five yards before a gentle trot around the perimeter of the pitch.

As an exercise in learning it was worthless - whereas watching Brazil in training is a true education.

Scolari threw open the gates to the world's media at a small ground in Omiya in Japan, a short drive from Saitama, where they will meet Turkey in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

And the doors, unlike England's that slammed shut after 15 pointless minutes, stayed open until the end of training.

Scolari was happy to allow a tentative Ronaldo to be put through his paces after a thigh injury in full view of hundreds of journalists.

And Brazil even practised for the lottery of penalties in front of the watching media - although Roberto Carlos will hopefully do better in front of 64,000 in Saitama than he did before a few hundred in Omiya, where his wild penalty was saved.

It is a sign of the relaxed mood within an increasingly confident Brazil camp that they have nothing to hide, no secrets to keep.

Brazil are satisfied that whatever the opposition believe they may have learned about them can always be trumped by the brilliance of Ronaldo or Rivaldo.

The mood of pessimism that accompanied Brazil into the World Cup has been replaced by a belief that the modern-day team is poised to write its name in history alongside the old masters of 1958, 1962, 1970 and 1994.

Rivaldo admitted there is always a sense of tradition whenever Brazil play, and under Scolari they are ready to pen another chapter to the greatest story in World Cup history.

Scolari is a coach reborn, villified in the build-up to the World Cup but now respected and admired by those who criticised him.

And while Brazil may revel in an image of cavalier relaxation, midfield man Edilson showed a more serious side to their approach to the business end of the World Cup.

He said: "We played very well to beat England. It was our biggest and toughest match so far, but we know that if we don't beat Turkey and reach the World Cup Final, everything we have done so far will have been totally worthless."

Brazil hope Turkey will join in the carnival spirit and play in an attacking fashion - although former Middlesbrough midfield man Juninho believes they will play hard to get.

He said: "I hope that Turkey does not play to defend. We will attack to try and win, and hopefully they will make it an open game.

"If they attack, it will be a match that will be interesting enough to be worthy of a World Cup semi-final - although our main goal is simply to win."

And if the Brazil on display in training is anything to go by, win in the true style of the South American legends.


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