Brazil footballers opt out of athletes' village

MIKE COLLETT
Last updated 12:28 23/07/2012

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Brazil's Olympic football squad are opting for a quiet life away from the "temptations" of the Athletes' Village, coach Mano Menezes said today.

The young squad are under huge pressure back home to win the country's first Olympic football gold and Menezes believes they have a better chance of doing that from a secluded hotel in the Hertfordshire countryside outside the capital.

"There are too many temptations here," he said with a smile as he spoke to reporters in the sunshine during a visit to the Village at the Olympic Park.

While players shopped for Olympic souvenirs in the Village megastore, Menezes continued: "Some of the players like Neymar and the others have already been the focus of attention from so many other athletes when we've been here and we have serious work to do at these Games."

Neymar, 20, is the brightest star in the Olympic side, composed mainly of Under-23 players, who have been preparing for the Games at Arsenal's training complex at London Colney just north of the capital.

Brazil face Egypt, Belarus and New Zealand in their opening group and their squad, many of whom should be in the senior team at the World Cup in Brazil in two years' time, are the clear favourites for the gold.

They were impressive in Friday's 2-0 win over Britain in their final warm-up in Middlesbrough on Friday and Menezes added: "We know what we are capable of. Of course we are looking at reaching the semi-finals to start with, and then the final, but we have a lot of hard work to do before that."

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- Reuters

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