Fred ‘thrilled’ with goal

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The Fluminese forward, who had come under heavy criticism from both fans and media and was yet to score in the tournament so far, converted a David Luiz cross in the second period to end his goal-drought.

“I’m thrilled to have scored,” the 30-year-old told FIFA.com. “I’ve been getting a lot of criticism, but it hasn’t upset me too much, because I know the other players in the squad are right behind me, and that has really encouraged me.

"They’ve seen the way I’ve been playing, and how I perform in training every day. Thanks to God, everything worked out.”

Fred’s goal, and Brazil’s third, helped the Selecao finish top of Group A, and they now face South American rivals Chile in the Last 16.

And the Brazilian hopes he can continue helping his side to progress as far as possible in the competition.

“Now we can continue to grow together as a team,” he said. “It’s a vital moment for us. I want to make sure I keep scoring, and help the team progress.”

The striker will be motivated for the rest of the tournament after his goal revealed striking similarities to his form in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he also failed to score in Brazil’s first two games. Fred then scored the third goal in Brazil’s 4-2 victory over Italy in their third match of that tournament, and went on to score in every match thereafter.

“My memories of last year give me a lot of confidence and encouragement," he said. "I’m going to give all I’ve got to make sure I keep scoring.

“The whole team, not just me, took a big step forward today. It was a team effort, which I really depend on. When our team plays with that kind of spirit, everyone performs better."

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