Brazil forward Neymar has admitted that the five-time World Cup winners have fallen into the slipstream of the leading nations.
The 2014 World Cup hosts saw their hopes of securing a record-breaking sixth crown demolished in humiliating fashion as eventual winners Germany trounced them 7-1 in the semi-final.
Neymar, the young man on whose shoulders the nation’s hopes rested, missed that humbling defeat after suffering a fractured vertebrae during the quarter-final victory over Colombia.
And the Barcelona star believes the South American giants must now accept that they are not at the same level as the current world champions and also the 2010 winners.
We've slipped behind and we have to be man enough to admit it.
"I think Brazilian football is behind. It's behind Germany and Spain,” he told Globo.
“We've slipped behind and we have to be man enough to admit it."
Neymar refused to blame Luiz Felipe Scolari for Brazil’s miserable end to the tournament, with the head coach forced to step down after the Germany rout was followed by a limp 3-0 defeat by Holland in the third place play-off.
"I had a leader (who was) one of the best Brazilians coaches I've had,” he added.
"There was no particular mistake made by the Selecao. I am not someone who understands a huge amount about tactics.”