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Soccer-World-Brazil coach happy with lightweight friendlies

By Brian Homewood

WEGGIS, Switzerland, May 28 - Brazil coach Carlos
Alberto Parreira said on Sunday he was happy to face lightweight
opposition rather than top sides in the build-up to the World
Cup.

After watching his side beat the under-20 team of Brazilian
club Fluminense 13-1 in a training match played in torrential
rain, Parreira said that a similar policy had served the world
champions well in the past.

"If we wanted strong opponents, we would have them,"
Parreira told reporters. "But our philosophy is to give priority
to the training, not to the games. It has proved to work in the
past."

Since qualifying for the World Cup, Brazil's only friendly
internationals have been away to the United Arab Emirates, which
they won 8-0, and away to Russia, when they won 1-0 in freezing
conditions.

The only other international before the tournament starts in
Germany is against New Zealand in Geneva next Sunday.

They will also face a Lucerne Select XI in Basel on Tuesday.

Similarly, Brazil's last game before the 1998 World Cup was
a friendly against Andorra at a fourth division ground in a
run-down Paris suburb, which they won 3-0.

They limbered up for the 2002 World Cup by thrashing
Malaysia 4-0 in Kuala Lumpur.

"Ronaldinho, Edmilson and Gilberto were all playing
competitive football until May 17," said Parreira.

"We want the team in one piece, we want to recharge our
batteries so that we are in form and ready to go when the
competition starts."

"In 1994, we trained for one month and we played against
Honduras and El Salvador.

"Colombia were among the favourites to win -- they beat
Argentina 5-0 in the qualifiers. But they played a whole load of
games in South America and the United States, they didn't train,
and went out in the first round."

"You can't judge teams from friendlies," he added when asked
to comment on Germany's 7-0 demolition of Luxemburg on Saturday.

Brazil face Croatia in their opening Group F match on June
13. They also play Australia on June 18 and Japan on June 22.