Parreira stunned by Brazil quarter-final defeat

July 2, 2006

FRANKFURT, July 1 (Reuters) - Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said he and his squad were stunned to be knocked out of the World Cup by France in Saturday's quarter-final.

Parreira, who said he had expected the defending champions to reach the final, conceded that he had failed in his duty, following the 1-0 defeat at the Waldstadion.

But, he said, he would not consider his future as coach until after the World Cup when he had returned to Brazil.

'I am not worried about my contract - it's something to sort out in Brazil when we get back after the World Cup,' he said.

The defeat was Brazil's first at the World Cup since they were beaten 3-0 by France in Paris in the 1998 final. Brazil had since won a record 11 World Cup matches in succession.

Parreira blamed his team's defeat on poor marking -- and the experience and defensive solidity of a Zinedine Zidane-inspired France who were superior on the night.

'We regret it, but we did not mark them well,' he said. 'This is a very hard defeat for us to accept - we did not think Brazil would be beaten in the quarter-finals.

'We were not ready for this so it is a big disappointment, but I must thank my players for working so hard.

'France had a very experienced team, they defended very well, with nine men back to defend and we could not score a goal.'

Parreira denied accusations by the Brazilian media that he had adopted a negative attitude for his team by leaving out strikers Adriano and Robinho, both of whom came on in the second half when France were a goal ahead.

'They had nine players in defence and they had great marking and they also had Zidane and Henry. So they were very fast when they went into attack and our marking was not good enough.'

The Brazil coach also refused to accept the idea, put forward by a Brazilian reporter, that France played more like 'the real Brazil' - hitting back by pointing out that the French defended in depth.

He said Zidane was 'wonderful' and added: 'We have known Zidane for many years and he is one of the best players in the world for the last decade. He played so very well. We tried to stop him, but we did not man-mark him because Brazil does not play with individual marking.'

He added: 'I know that if we win it is the players who win, but if Brazil loses then the coach is to blame. No, I did not do my duty. My duty was to take Brazil to the World Cup final and because of that we are not prepared for this defeat.