(AFP) – Brazil defender Dani Alves said Saturday Spain’s premature World Cup exit was a lesson for teams as to how difficult it is to achieve success at the highest level.
Crushing losses to Holland and Chile left Spain suffering one of the earliest ever exit by defending champions and Alves told reporters that as a Barcelona player he felt for Vicente del Bosque’s men.
“It’s a shame and I feel for my friends over there. But it is a lesson as to how very difficult the competition is. It may seem easy but a detail can knock you out,” Alves told reporters at Brazil’s Granja Comary base outside Rio.
Brazil saw their progress held up with a goalless draw in their second match against Mexico and will likely need to beat Cameroon on Monday to win their group.
Then they would play the runners-up from Group B — either Holland or Chile, who must face off Monday in Sao Paulo with both having won their opening two matches.
Alves said the Brazilians were conscious of the home fans’ high expectations as the Selecao chase a sixth crown.
But he insisted that despite the Mexico stalemate “we are evolving compared with the opening match,” a 3-1 come-from-behind success over Croatia.
“Sometimes results can confuse people,” added Alves, with Brazil having produced several good chances against the Mexicans, whose goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa denied them spectacularly throughout.
He reiterated that “the goal is to finish first in the group” as they prepare to take on already eliminated Cameroon in what will be the hosts’ 100th World Cup match of an illustrious tournament history to date.