Brazil coach Tite opened a news conference on Monday by responding to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent criticism of his team’s World Cup performance, holding up his left hand to signify the five titles Brazil has won over the history of the competition.
Trump joked with a reporter during a ceremony at the White House last month that Brazil “had a little problem” in the World Cup, referring to the national team’s quarterfinal loss to Belgium in July.
But Tite, whose team will face El Salvador at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, on Tuesday, began his news conference after a training session at Audi Field in Washington with a rebuttal of Trump’s comments.
“My response to Trump is that we have five world titles,” Tite said. “Perhaps historically, he can better inform himself.”
Trump welcomed FIFA president Gianni Infantino and U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro to the White House on Aug. 28 to recognize the United States’ successful bid, along with Canada and Mexico, to host the World Cup in 2026.
Raquel Krahenbuhl, a reporter from Brazil’s GloboNews, had begun to ask a question during the ceremony when Trump interjected, asking where she was from.
After saying she is from Brazil, she said, “We have the best team in the world,” to which Trump responded, “Except you had a little problem last time, right?”
Brazil won the World Cup in 1994, the last time it was held in the U.S., and most recently won the competition in 2002. It also won it in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
Tite offered no further comment about Trump after his initial remarks, which came three days after Brazil defeated the U.S. 2-0 in a friendly at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
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