International friendly: Brazil striker Fred insists motivation in squad is high
Brazil striker Fred insists motivation in the squad is high heading into their friendly against Switzerland.
Last Updated: 13/08/13 1:58pm
Brazil striker Fred insists motivation in the squad is high heading into their friendly against Switzerland and that victory in the Confederations Cup has earned the team greater respect from their rivals.
The five-time world champions begin the final lap en route to hosting the World Cup next summer when they take on the Swiss in Basle, their first senior match since winning the Confederations Cup.
Results in this summer's tournament - which included a 3-0 win over reigning world and European champions Spain in the final - has boosted confidence in Brazil that the South Americans can go all the way and win the World Cup for a sixth time overall, and a second time under current coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Fluminense forward Fred told reporters in Switzerland: "This moment is wonderful. Felipao (Scolari) has imposed his own style on the team and the group has understood it well.
"We won (the Confederations Cup) and we are more respected. We've looked for that respect, so much so that now rivals want to beat Brazil more than before. We are more motivated too."
Talking about the progress made by Brazil under Scolari, Fred added: "We are going in the right way. We still have to grow up a lot in friendly games to make it into the World Cup ready."
Chelsea defender David Luiz added: "We came here with a fresh air around us and happiness because we are building a winning identity.
"It will be a very tough game as some players have already started their season in their respective teams, so they are more fresh. We are just starting."
Luiz's Chelsea team-mate Oscar said: "What matters is taking profit from each one of these matches and getting to know each other better and better."
Brazil will be aiming to extend their unbeaten streak to 12 matches at the St Jakob-Park, with Barcelona new boy Neymar as always the centre of attention.
Switzerland head coach Ottmar Hitzfeld warned his side to keep a close eye on the 21-year-old, saying: "We have to make it tight and do not let him pick up pace."
History is not on the Switzerland's side, having defeated Brazil just once in 10 meetings - a 1-0 victory in 1989.
However, Hitzfeld sees the game as great preparation for their World Cup qualifier against Iceland on September 6. They lead Group E of the European qualifying section after six games, holding a four-point advantage over Albania and a five-point lead over Iceland.
"This is a big challenge," said Hitzfeld.
"Brazil will reveal our weak points and give us very important information about ourselves."