Sat, 02 Dec 2023

Head coach Tite was involved in pitchside celebrations as his team beat South Korea

Brazilian manager Tite has hit back at claims that his team's dancing celebrations during their World Cup last-16 victory against South Korea were disrespectful towards the opposition.

Brazil blew away their Asian rivals with four first-half goals at Stadium 974 in Doha on Monday night, further cementing their credentials among the tournament favorites.

The South Koreans pulled back a consolation goal in the second half, but the talk was all about the dazzling Brazilian performance - which was accompanied by an array of dancing celebrations from the players as the goals flew in.

After Richarlison scored his team's third goal with a sensational passage of play, Brazil stars even rushed to involve manager Tite in a 'pigeon' celebration on the touchline.

The Brazil boss denied that the antics were disrespectful towards the opposition or South Korea's Portuguese manager Paulo Bento.

"There are always the mean ones who will understand it as disrespect," Tite told journalists after the game.

"I told the players to hide me a little, I know about the visibility.

"I didn't want it to have any other interpretation than the joy of the goal, the result, the performance, but not disrespect for the opponent or Paulo Bento, who I have a lot of respect for.

"There was no way to hide it," Tite, 61, added with a laugh.

The series of dancing celebrations from the Selecao split opinion among pundits and fans. In the ITV studio in the UK, former Manchester United and Ireland icon Roy Keane was unimpressed.

"I've never seen so much dancing. I can't believe what I'm watching, it's like watching Strictly [Come Dancing]," said the ex-midfielder, comparing it to the popular TV series.

"I don't like this. People say it's their culture. But I think that's really disrespecting the opposition," Keane added.

"It's four goals, and they are doing it every time. I don't mind so much the first jig, it's the one after that, and the manager getting involved."

Fellow pundit Graeme Souness claimed the Brazilians were making themselves a target for reprisals from angry opposition players.

"It's only a matter of time before someone goes right through one of these Brazilians," said the famously tough-tackling Scot.

It's not the first time that Brazilian players have been caught up in a row over their dancing this season.

Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jr was targeted by pundits and Atletico Madrid fans in September, in a row which escalated into claims of racism against the star.  

Vinicius Jr was among those on the scoresheet for Brazil against South Korea, while Neymar marked his return from injury with a penalty goal.

Brazil next face Croatia in the last eight on Friday, when Tite's team will hope to dance their way into the semifinals.  

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