The Brazilian Olympic team started their Tokyo 2020 campaign on a winning note but the job is not done yet. Still, there is a long way to go and someone like Douglas Luiz knows very well about it.

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The next test would be against a very competent Ivory Coast and in the Olympic Games; the African teams are a tough nut to crack and Brazil know that very well because back in 1996 they were knocked out by Nigeria in the semifinals.

“I expect a very difficult game. It is a key game, in which we already define who will qualify, how the table will look, how it will be drawn. It is a team that will be very competitive, from what we could follow from their first game, you can see that it is a team that disputes a lot of the ball, has quality. It’s going to be a tough game, but we’re ready, we’ve demonstrated in our first game, beating Germany 4-2. We’re fine, confident; it’s the most important thing,” said Douglas Luiz in the press conference.

If Brazil qualify for the knockout game, it will face a Group C team, which includes Australia, Egypt, Spain and Argentina. Douglas, however, doesn’t even want to think about it right now.

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“I think the competition is very qualified. There are three players over age and anything can happen. Argentina’s loss to Australia was the one that caught my attention in the first round. We are here to do ours, not to observe what is happening on the other side or to choose an opponent, we are here to get the gold, which is the biggest goal. If you want gold, you don’t have to choose or root for someone to win or lose. Our goal is to be prepared to win the selection that comes – opined the steering wheel.”

Regarding the match against Germany, Luiz said, “We take each example to be able to get stronger, to be able to adapt to the competition. We have a great example in our first game. We made it 3-0, and Germany, one down, managed to make it 3-2. This we have to be connected, focused on every detail of the game, every minute because it can cost us a lot. We talked about it, it’s a good group, smart, with athletes who play in Europe, Dani who helps us a lot, Diego, Santos … The group is very good and will strengthen even more in the competition.”

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About representing Brazil in the Olympics, Luiz said, “It’s something I don’t even have words to describe the moment I’m living in. We know that people in the community have few opportunities, few people believe, on TV appears the bad side, but little appears on the good side, of people. I set an example for people who fight on day-to-day life, deserve an opportunity.”

“You have to believe in yourself to grow in life. I kept watching the competition, I was a kid in love with football, via Olympics, world cup, it was something I always wanted. I’ve always believed in myself and a family that believed in me, that was ideal to make that dream come true. It keeps working because the dream just started, we made our debut very well. What’s coming, it’s in our head, and our desire is much greater than that.”

About his playing position, Luiz said, “It’s a slightly different relationship between us here and with Tite, there I play in another role, more to guard the side, to cover Neymar’s position. It’s a little different.”

“Jardine here has a lot of confidence in me, Bruno, has the kick from outside the area, arrival, assists, is a little freer. We have the intelligence to know when one is following the attack the other is more on defence. I became more defensive than offensive; different from the time I played for Vasco. I’m here to help the team, with my marking characteristics, and strengthen the group. The good thing is that Bruno is a very smart player and we are getting along very well.”

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“It is very gratifying to be here, I feel honoured, happy to know that one day I had difficulties and today I was able to overcome all of them to be here. I can’t say I’ve reached the top, because I’m much more at home, but I’m at a level where I’m very honoured, the people in my community are mirrored in me. They are people who have little opportunity, little space in the world of sport, we have to work twice to achieve.”

“ In the past, shootings have not let me train, go to the game, and go through all that and being here today is very gratifying for me, my family and the people who accompanied me. Becoming an Olympian is a very good feeling. I’ve played several championships, but wearing the national team shirt is something different, pleasurable. I want to send a hug to everyone who accompanies me and, if they can follow the same trail, without failing to chase, it is the message That I leave.”

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In the match against Germany, Brazil were leading by 3-0 and could have been 5-0 in the first half, but Germany reduced the deficit by 3-2.

Were Brazil a bit relaxed and thought, they won it already?

“It is natural of a game in which you end up scoring three goals in the first half, have the opportunity to make four or five, and arrives in the second half you think the game is set and end up forgetting that on the other side has a qualified team, like Germany. That’s what happened. I stood there pulling the foot of one, the other, in the locker room I commented that the game was not won, Professor Jardine also said that the game was not won,” replied Luiz.

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“But the situation that we were in was so good, that we ended up relaxing, it’s something natural, but we can’t let it happen because it’s something that can hurt us. They made it 3-2, they could have even tied, and we went there with Paulinho and managed to make the fourth. It’s something we have to talk about, we talk about the game, today we didn’t have time to talk, because it was recovery, but it’s something we have to learn not to pass this suffocation.”

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