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May 15, 2013

Scolari defends Neymar form

Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari has played down concerns over the form of star Neymar, insisting the Santos striker will deliver for his country in the Confederations Cup next month.

• Brazil better suited for 2018

• Scolari names Brazil squad

Neymar, 21, has come under criticism for his performances in international fixtures this year but never seemed in doubt to earn a place in Scolari's team for the tournament.

Scolari moved to defend Neymar by suggesting his team selection was based on domestic form in recent months.

"Neymar has been playing well," the Selecao coach said. "I understand some people are going to disagree. He's playing very well from our point of view. It's what we expect."

Brazilian veterans Ronaldinho and Kaka were the most notable omissions from Scolari's squad and the 64-year-old suggested the two are not currently suited to his line-up, although he refused to rule out a place for them in next year's World Cup side.

"Many times we're criticised for picking A, B or C. I was criticised several times for having Costinha on my team when I was in Portugal," Scolari said. "Costinha gave me everything I needed in a defensive midfielder, and he wasn't unanimous at his own club either. That's the criteria I adopt here, how important a player can be for the team.

"History is not over for the veterans. This list is for the Confederations Cup only. We have a project to watch other players who might add more to our group to the World Cup.

"After the CC, we'll be going to Europe, to places like Russia, Ukraine, England, to watch players from there. We'll see how this ones go and who else can add more to us. To everyone who was left out: play, show us your football, prove you can add to the squad. They could be planting a little seed for the future."

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