Brazil's Parreira endures coldest match of his life
MOSCOW, Mar 1: Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was more concerned about his players avoiding injury just three months before the World Cup finals than beating Russia in today's friendly international.
With the temperature dipping well below freezing around kickoff at Moscow's Lokomotiv Stadium, Parreira's main objective was making sure all his players finished the match, a 1-0 win, in good health.
''This was the coldest match I have ever been involved in with any sort of team at any level,'' Parreira told a news conference.
''I've never been in a situation like this before. I was freezing on the bench.'' The Brazilians were already missing World Player of the Year Ronaldinho, who was told to rest and not risk injury after suffering a recurrence of a strain in his left ankle during Barcelona's league win over Real Zaragoza on Saturday.
''Conditions were very special but we can't complain, we were here to play no matter what and tried to use those conditions to suit our team,'' Parreira said.
Ronaldo's fortuitous goal in the 15th minute gave Brazil the lead and Parreira made six changes in the second half as the world champions played a defensive game to preserve the win.
''Normally, we wouldn't make six changes in a match like this,'' Parreira said.
''We played much better in the first half as we had our main team on the pitch. I was very pleased with our team work.
''But I'm not going to judge my players solely on a match like this. This was only a friendly game,'' he added.
Russia's caretaker coach Alexander Borodyuk was left to lament his team's missed chances in the second half.
''I'm satisfied with our effort but not the result,'' he said, adding that Russia's off season had also contributed to his team's poor finishing.
''Most of our players are not in match condition and technically they are inferior to the Brazilians,'' he said.