Luiz Felipe Scolari will be a miracle worker if he leads Brazil to World Cup glory.

Let's face it, this is not a classic Brazil team. They've done well to get this far. And now they are without their injured No.10 Neymar for the rest of the tournament and their captain Thiago Silva misses the semi-final with Germany.

But more than that, it's the pressure of managing a nation which expects to win every World Cup. And when it's in their own country, they see it as their divine right.

However, what has impressed more than anything else is the way that Scolari and the Brazil set-up has managed to channel the energy from the fans and turn it into momentum.

It feels like there is a force driving Brazil towards the World Cup final. Germany, on paper at least, look to have a much stronger squad than Brazil. But you write off Brazil at your peril.

At times, the passion of the crowd almost seemed to suck the ball goalwards. It definitely gave Brazil extra energy in a stunning first half display. They were far too good for Colombia.


I was at their quarter-final with Colombia in Fortaleza on Friday night when the atmosphere was possibly the best I've ever experienced in all my years as both fan and covering football matches.

The noise was deafening. The support was overwhelming, it carried Brazil and overwhelmed and intimidated Colombia.

At times, the passion of the crowd almost seemed to suck the ball goalwards. It definitely gave Brazil extra energy in a stunning first half display. They were far too good for Colombia.

And when their flair didn't work, the purveyors of the beautiful game didn't mind getting stuck in either. Brazil were worthy winners and deserve to be in the semi-final even if the lingering doubts remain. Scolari has dragged this squad to the last four.

There has been so much written and said about hosting the World Cup in Brazil, a country which has such poverty holding a lavish multi-billion tournament.

I got the impression there might have been a backlash if they had lost to Colombia (imagine that as pressure on Scolari's head). But now they have done the required level, reached the semis and if they lose they will have been without two key players.

The Brazilian public will not forget easily. But they may just forgive them. However, there's just no thought of that. They're not quitters. They will not give up without a fight. And this Brazil team has the whole nation on their side.

It took a while for Brazil to buy into the tournament (even when we were marvelling at the football) but now it really has captured the imagination. Every bar is showing football, every street has posters, everyone is talking about it. Believe it or not, that wasn't always the case at first. A lot of people didn't want this tournament.

David Luiz celebrates his goal against Colombia

Can David Luiz and co channel the energy of an expectant nation?

But the football has united the country. Now they are loving it. And it is the country which is driving this Brazil team forward. They have great characters in the squad, like David Luiz and Julio Cesar.

Luiz and Cesar are two of the English speakers within the 23 and the passion and desire that they talk with is gripping. They are also polite enough to stop and talk to familiar faces from the English press when they see us in mixed zones where the post-match interviews are conducted.

The Brazilians are rolling out the red carpet. Their media can be wild, thrusting microphones and cameras at anything that moves, but they are brilliantly catered for. And furthermore, the Brazilians are so welcoming for foreign media, too.

On Sunday, less than 48 hours after the Colombia game, a few of us hired a minibus to go to the Brazilian training base high up in the mountains of Teresopolis, a picturesque resort about two hours outside of Rio De Janeiro.

We should have known it was not going to be an easy day when we had a blow out on the motorway on the way. A tyre change later and we were back on the road.

In contrast to the rather frosty reception foreign media would get at the English FA's media base, we were welcomed in with open arms. In fact, they barely looked at your World Cup accreditation.

It was a glorious setting with a barber's shop (Brazil are sponsored by Gillette) and a laundrette (they are also sponsored by Aerial) and so you can get your haircut and smalls washed all in one go. Perfect.

There was a translation service (most countries don't offer such a luxury for foreign media within their own media base) and you could ask as many questions to the two allotted players, Willian and Bernard, as you wanted.

Frankly, I've become a Brazil fan for this tournament.


You come away charmed and, furthermore, the fans loved it, too. There were hundreds around watching an open training session. Frankly, I've become a Brazil fan for this tournament.

Getting home was another story. There was only one road out of this town. The traffic was incredible. Two hours to get there, six hours to get back.

This whole tournament has been organised in Brazilian style. A bit by the seat of their pants but that all adds to the charm. The stadiums and infrastructure leave something to be desired, but you get consumed by the passion, warmth and, of course, the football.

I think this will go down as the greatest World Cup of them all. And if Brazil win it then it will only add to the legend and memories. I have to make Germany favourites. But there's a never-say-die spirit about Brazil which means you can't write them off.

And in Scolari, they have a strong manager who is intent on working another miracle.