Mano Menezes: Brazil have taken an important step

Selecao coach delighted as they come from a goal down to seal qualification to the quarter finals of Olympic competition thanks to goals from Pato, Neymar and Oscar
Brazil coach Mano Menezes hailed the character of his side to come back from a goal behind to beat Belarus and secure an Olympics quarter final spot with a 3-1 victory.

Renan Bressan surprised everyone when he gave Belarus the lead in the eighth minute of the game, ghosting into the penalty area to head past Neto from 15 yards.

Despite this setback, Brazil continued to dominate the game and were back level in the 15th minute through Alexandre Pato, and the points were secured thanks to an outstanding Neymar free kick and a last minute strike from Oscar. But it was the manner in which his side came back into the game that pleased the coach.

"Brazil have made an important step at these Olympics," he told reporters.

"I'm really pleased because this is the first time this team have ever come back from being a goal down and their response was very good.

"Playing against a team that has five defenders was very difficult and perhaps we underestimated the ability of our opponents to create a scoring chance.

"We stayed calm and tried to create some space, but it just needed a little bit of improvement.

"We played much better in the second half and worked the ball well.

"We are very pleased to have already qualified before the end of the group stages and this will make all Brazilian supporters happy.

"[Brazilian FA] President Jose Maria Marin has already had a call from ex-President [Luiz Inacio] Lula [da Silva] congratulating the team on their qualification and this message has been passed to the players."

Menezes made the call to replace Leandro Damiao with Alexandre Pato in the starting line-up, and his decision was proved right as the AC Milan striker put in an excellent performance full of movement and energy, capped off by a good close range header from a pinpoint Neymar cross.

And the coach was full of praise for the striker, and indicated he could continue upfront with Hulk and Neymar in their final group game.

"I think Pato's performance today really helped the team," he continued.

"We have worked closely with AC Milan's medical team and the improvement he has made over the past few weeks will allow him to play in consecutive games."