SAO PAULO Chelsea midfielder Willian is confident that Brazil’s often fickle fans will be a help rather than a hindrance to the home nation when the World Cup begins in Sao Paulo next month.
Brazilian fans frequently boo their own players, especially in big cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo but that changed last year when locals got behind their side during the Confederations Cup and Willian believes their support this time around could be vital.
“I like to think that playing at home will be beneficial to Brazil, that the support of fans and family will give us a boost like it did in the Confederations Cup,” the influential midfielder said in an email interview with Reuters.
“I think the pressure will be on our opponents, who will have to face Brazil at home with the support of the home crowd.”
One of four Chelsea players in the squad – Oscar, Ramires and David Luiz are the others – Willian is one of the new boys.
Willian won his first cap in 2011 under former boss Mano Menezes but Luiz Felipe Scolari did not fancy him when he took over in November 2012 and he was not in the group that won the Confederations Cup.
He was recalled after the competition and is one of the seven additions to the 23-man squad.
The 25-year-old former Corinthians player joined Chelsea last year after a long spell in the former Soviet bloc and he settled quickly at Stamford Bridge.
His form with the Blues has been too good to ignore and while his club failed to win any major honors, his versatility is an obvious attraction to Scolari.
“I’ve played some good games for Chelsea this season in the centre of midfield as well as wide on the flanks, both right and left,” Willian said.
“I think I will be ready to play in any of those three positions.
“Now that the season is over for Chelsea and the moment is arriving I am starting to get nervous,” he said. “But I am trying to keep calm, rest my body, and prepare myself mentally.”
(Writing by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)