BRAZIL are looking to send a message to supporters and rivals in the World Cup's opening match, according to Dani Alves, heaping further pressure on their players ahead of the game against Croatia.
A lacklustre 1-0 win over Serbia in Friday's warmup game brought jeers from the home crowd and raised doubts about the heavily favoured Brazil team, doubts Alves was quick to dismiss. He said the host nation's players would be at their best when the tournament begins on Thursday.
"The moment of truth is starting now," he said. "It's not just about three points, it should also send a message to future rivals. I think it's the most important game of the World Cup, along with the final."
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The national team has long had a testy relationship with Sao Paulo fans at the Morumbi stadium, where they struggled against Serbia.
But Alves was confident of a different mood across town at the new Corinthians arena that will host the opening match. "Because we're playing at home, I'm certain the people will be on our side," he said.
"That will confirm that the Brazilian team is the favorite. For us it's a gift to see the fans, our people, now understand that the cup has arrived in Brazil and it's going to be an amazing moment."