By Ben Hayward in Belo Horizonte
Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari says his side are at 80 per cent of the level they reached when they won the Confederations Cup on home soil this time last year.
Wins over Croatia and Cameroon and a draw with Mexico saw Brazil top Group A and set up a meeting with Chile in the last 16 of the World Cup on Saturday.
The hosts have not always looked convincing, however, and their patchy performances have brought intense scrutiny from the Brazilian media.
"We like to watch the games, but we don't listen to what the pundits and commentators say," Scolari told reporters at his side's pre-match press conference at the Estadio Mineirao on Friday. "We don't really want to know what is being said because some players don't take well to [public] criticism."
But he admitted: "The team at this time is at 80 per cent of the level we were at in the Confederations Cup. We have done a lot of work with our medical department, a lot of psychological work. The evolution has been noted and we are approaching the normal and ideal conditions we had last year."
Then, Brazil beat Spain 3-0 in the final to claim the trophy and make a significant statement ahead of this year's World Cup, but before they can think of similar success this time around the hosts face a tricky match against Chile on Saturday.
"Chile are a very good team," Scolari said. "They have adapted to the system of [coach Jorge] Sampaoli and they have a new dynamic since his arrival."
And he warned: "Their performances have improved and they can cause us problems, maybe even beat us. "That's not in our plans as we are preparing to win the game, but if we lose, life goes on."