Neymar hats 'killed' Bernard and Brazil - Rinaldi

The Selecao's new general co-ordinator slams the choice to go to such lengths to pay tribute to the injured Barcelona forward when their World Cup focus should have been on Germany
Brazil doomed their World Cup bid and "killed" Bernard's chances of impressing by wearing hats in support of Neymar, according to the nation's new general co-ordinator, Gilmar Rinaldi.

Neymar was the Selecao's star player as the host nation reached the semi-finals of the World Cup but he picked up a back injury in their last-eight win over Colombia, ruling him out of the rest of the tournament.

In the build up to their clash with Germany in the last four, in which Luiz Felipe Scolari's men were humiliated 7-1, many of the team wore hats with messages of support for their team-mate but Rinaldi - who was brought into Brazil's management along with returning coach Dunga in July - was critical of the squad's decision to fawn over Neymar.

Bernard was chosen to fill in for the Barcelona forward against Joachim Low's men and Rinaldi is adamant that the excessive focus on Neymar had an adverse effect on his stand-in.

"Brazil were missing our best player, we were experiencing a difficult time and we were about to face Germany - our most difficult game to date in that World Cup ... I would not have agreed to an action like those hats," he told SporTV.

"What must Bernard have thought going in for him? How must he have felt? It's like saying: 'It's your turn, you will win the game for us.' The game was already difficult enough.

"It was a cute homage and Neymar is a wonderful lad against whom I have nothing but giving Neymar strength at that time was wrong. It should have been about the collective.

"On a matchday, we needed warriors to be focused. That's not why we lost, but the spirit needed wasn't there. The hats killed Bernard."