KEIR RADNEDGE in BELO HORIZONTE: Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar apologised to journalists after his World Cup shootout heroics for “talking too much.”
But the 34-year-old felt an unstoppable need to release in words all the emotion charged by his second round-winning performance after having been the scapegoat for Brazil’s defeat by Holland in the quarter-finals four years ago in South Africa.
Then Julio Cesar missed a cross-shot from Wesley Sneijder which drifted on into goal for Holland’s first goal.
This time around Cesar, recalled by Brazil last year while barely playing any club football at Queens Park Rangers, saved two penalties early in Brazil’s 3-2 shootout success against Chile after a 1-1 extra-time draw.
Brazil were never headed in the shootout and thus proceed to a quarter-final against Colombia in Fortaleza on Friday.
Cesar, hailed as official man of the match, said: “I’m very happy. The Brazilian people needed this. We players needed this. I just hope the next game will not be decided on a penalty shootout or our families will all have a heart attack.”
The goalkeeper, now with Toronto in Major League Soccer, was full of praise for the support and encouragement he had received from Luiz Felipe Scolari, the coaching staff and his team-mates.
He said : “Many people challenged my having been picked so this shows I was well prepared for the World Cup. I have to thank Felipao and Parreira and all the technical staff for everything they’ve been doing for me. They provided me with a secure environment to do my job.
“After what happened in 2010 I had so many people cheering for me and wanting me to win the World Cup for what happened back then. I must keep focused so this World Cup comes true.
“After a World Cup to be labelled as the villain is very bad. I needed to regain my psychological balance. I had the support from my family and everyone. This match proved if you have a dream that you want, then go after it and never give up.
“I know we haven’t achieved anything yet but this provides me with the strength to go to the next match and help my team-mates. I’m sorry I have talked so much I just wanted to summarise four years of work.”
Julio Cesar was seen in tears before the shootout. He explained: “I was crying because several of my team-mates came to me and said the most incredible things to me and I could not hold in the emotions.
“Then I knew I needed to focus on that moment which was decisive for our future in the World Cup and do my job in the best possible way.
“I have had a lot of different feelings in my career. I am a professional who is very happy in his career and now what I want from this will be to kiss and hold the cup together with millions of Brazilians.
“What has happened today is very special because of what happened to me in the last World Cup. I dedicate this to my mother and father, to my wife and children, to the technical staff . . . and to 200m Brazilians.”