BRAZIL coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has enlisted his trusted psychologist to help his team overcome the blow of losing star player Neymar and reach the World Cup final tonight.
Forward Neymar is out of the rest of the tournament with a fractured vertebra suffered in the quarter-final against Colombia, from what Brazil skipper Thiago Silva dubbed “a coward’s tackle”.
It leaves the hosts looking vulnerable against a prosaic yet talented German side in Belo Horizonte, though Scolari believes his remaining 22 have now come to accept their inspiration’s absence.
“He’s taken a lot of us with him,” he said “I think that phase of being sad, we’ve left behind. We’ve accepted he won’t be with us any more. Now its up to us.”
Defender Silva, suspended for the semi-final, revealed the role played by psychologist Regina Brandao.
“Regina tries to make us at ease,” he said. “It’s not just about Neymar. We just talk about a lot of things, but she emphasised we all have to feel at ease.”
Silva sounded distinctly uneasy when referring to the Juan Zuniga tackle that ended Neymar’s World Cup. “That kind of challenge isn’t done,” he added. “You can’t get the ball by putting your knee into a player’s back, it’s not normal.”