Rio de Janeiro, July 4 (IANS) Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning captain Cafu believes his side has lost the edge of striking fear into the hearts of rivals after they bowed out of ongoing Copa America quarter-finals.
Brazil lost to Paraguay on penalties to crash out of the tourney, only a year after they were destroyed 7-1 by Germany on home soil.
Cafu, who won two World Cups and a pair of Copa America titles during a glittering 16-year international career, believes the defeats have ravaged the confidence of the players.
“(Brazil) are lacking commitment and desire. They lost respect. Due the football we’re playing the rivals no longer fear us,” the 45-year-old was quoted as saying by goal.com on Saturday.
“We went through a transition period but Brazil will be a team that imposes fear again. Those who despise us may be surprised.”
The former Roma and AC Milan right-back praised Chile for their Copa campaign this year but also warned them about the threat Argentina’s Lionel Messi will pose in the final.
“I like (Chile) very much. They are surprising, and reached where no one could imagine,” Cafu added. “Chile’s strength is the group, and (Jorge) Valdivia, who is in good form.
“To monitor Messi is almost impossible today. But Chile will not easily accept a defeat, even more playing here (at home). They are in very good form, even more consistent than Argentina, who have a differential, that little piece called Messi.
“But it’s the final and anything could happen. A free kick, a bad pass or a penalty can define the game,” he concluded.