Alexandre Gallo spoke to INSIDER at Salvador airport today (INSIDER)

(WFI) Alexandre Gallo, a close confidante of Brazil boss Luis Felipe Scolari, tells INSIDER the World Cup hosts can play better as he prepares for a crucial scouting role at today’s Spain v Holland match.

INSIDER spoke to the 47-year-old, the current Brazil U-20 manager, at Salvador airport today following his overnight flight from Sao Paulo shortly after Brazil’s 3-1 win over Croatia.

He’s here gathering intelligence on the stars of Spain and Holland, who launch their World Cup campaigns at Arena Fonte Nova, a repeat of the 2010 World Cup final.

Speaking about last night’s performance by Luis Felipe Scolari’s team, Gallo described Brazil’s display as a “good performance not great”.

“But more important in the first round is to win. I think the players were nervous about the first round, the young players,” he told INSIDER.

Neymar’s brace – a cool precise left-footed strike from 18 yards and a nonchalant penalty – put Brazil on the path to victory after the host nation had fallen behind to a Marcelo own goal. Chelsea FC’s playmaker Oscar scored the third.

“He [Neymar] played very well in the match and for the team. He’s an important player for Brazil,” Gallo said, cautioning that the 22-year-old star

Arena Fonte Nova where Spain play Holland today (INSIDER)

was not at his best.

“I think some improvement continues through the tournament,” he said.

Scolari rejected claims that the referee was biased following the controversial penalty awarded by Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura and praised Neymar as “a special player”.

Gallo suggested there was much room for improvement for the Brazil team as a whole. “Yes I think so. It’s normal, the players played very well. More important is winning,” he added. “Luis Felipe Scolari is very happy about this. I think in the second round is a better performance.”

If as expected Brazil top Group A, they will play the second-placed team in Group B in Belo Horizonte. Spain, Holland or Chile could provide the opposition; Australia, the lowest-ranked team at the World Cup, have little chance of qualifying for the second phase.

“I need to see Spain and Holland too for Felipe Scolari,” he said. “Next week I see Spain against Chile [at the Maracana].”

Gallo, who started his playing career at Botofogo and ended it at Corinthians before becoming a coach, has been an asistant coach at Brazilian clubs with Carlos Alberto Parreira and Wanderlei Luxemburgo before striking out on his own.

He managed a string of clubs over the last decade including Santos and Internacional before his appointment as head coach of the Brazil U-20 team last year. Working for the Brazilian Football Confederation, he is also charged with coaching the nation’s U-17 players, the stars of World Cups to come.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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