'Neymar can't win by himself' - Scolari
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil -- Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has attempted to take some of the pressure off Neymar at the World Cup, saying the forward should not be the only one expected to play well and lead the team to glory.
The Barcelona player has been the Selecao's leader on the field since Scolari began preparing the team for the tournament on home soil, while he inspired the side to claim the Confederations Cup last summer.
Though usually quick to praise Neymar -- the squad's top scorer with 33 goals in 51 matches -- the Brazil boss has recently been more concerned with trying to ease the burden on him of carrying the hopes of an entire nation.
"Neymar can't win by himself and he can't lose by himself," Scolari was quoted as saying by Associated Press. "He is part of a group. At times he will show that he can be greater than other players, and we all know that, the players know that. But he is part of a group. He wins with the group and he loses with the group."
Scolari was not the only person in the Brazil camp to play down the expectations placed on Neymar.
David Luiz was quick to hail his teammate, but says it is not down to him to win matches on his own.
"Neymar is a great player. He brought back the magic of the Brazilian player. He's letting us dream about having a Brazilian as the best player in the world again," he said.
"But he also knows that it's not only up to him to do well. He doesn't have to carry the responsibility of deciding every match by himself, of being the best player in every match, of scoring goals in every match, of playing well in every match."
Neymar himself has also tried to lift some of the responsibility from his young shoulders.
"There are 11 players on the field, and everybody knows their role and what they need to do to try to help our team make it far in the tournament," he said before the side's opening match.
He had some of Brazil's best chances against El Tri but was denied by goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who produced a fine display.
"He's the player who can make the difference," Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo said. "He's the type of player who can give us the victory in a difficult match."
Brazil play again on Monday against already-eliminated Cameroon in Brasilia. The hosts need at least a draw to advance to the next round, while a win should be enough to secure first place in Group A.
Neymar is one of four Brazil players going into the game with a yellow card, meaning another would rule him out of the round of 16.
Scolari, though, knows that he has to prepare for such an eventuality.
"We are doing what we can to make sure that the team can be able to win with or without Neymar, when he is playing well or when he is being marked more closely," Scolari said.