The Brazil players could not be more motivated ahead of Saturday’s World Cup third-place match against the Netherlands and will be fighting to restore their “honour and dignity”, captain Thiago Silva said on Friday.
Brazil’s dream of winning a sixth World Cup, and a first on home soil, was shattered when Germany destroyed them 7-1 in Tuesday’s semi-final, while the Dutch were beaten on penalties by Brazil’s arch South American rivals Argentina.
Although third place would be scant consolation, Thiago Silva said the players would try to lift the spirits of a nation still in shock after their team’s unprecedented mauling.
They also have a chance to gain revenge on the Dutch, who knocked them out in the quarter-finals in South Africa four years ago.
“We have the highest possible level of motivation,” Thiago Silva, who missed the Germany game through suspension, told a news conference at the national stadium in Brasilia.
“Obviously we have a different goal now and it’s not first place we are fighting for but our honour and dignity,” added the central defender.
“When you wear that shirt with the five stars on the front you have to respect it.
“I have spent many sleepless nights thinking about this World Cup and about the final at the Maracana (on Sunday) but it was not to be.”
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said he planned to make “a few changes” from the team that started against Germany to reward players who had not featured or had little time on the pitch at the finals.
Scolari has received backing from the president-elect of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) despite Tuesday’s shocking reverse but did not reveal whether he intended to stay on or step down after the World Cup.
“We have to send an optimistic message to our supporters,” Scolari said of Saturday’s game.
“We are still among the four best teams and it’s not the end of the world.
“We have tried to lift the players and look on the Netherlands game as our main dream now.
“At least we have a chance to give the Brazilian people a bit of joy.”