The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Coach Scolari stays with Brazil's national team for opener in Sao Paulo despite nephew's death

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SAO PAULO - Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has decided to stay with Brazil's national team despite the death of his nephew in an accident two days before the opening match of the World Cup.

Scolari attended the official FIFA news conference in Sao Paulo on Wednesday and did not travel to be with his family in southern Brazil, where 48-year-old Tarcisio Joao Schneider died in a car accident on Tuesday. He also took charge of the team's training session at the Itaquerao Stadium where Brazil will play Croatia on Thursday.

Scolari said he was drawing strength from seeing his players' dedication in their preparations for the World Cup.

"I find the strength by working with this group, in this environment, where the players are dedicating themselves to their goal day after day," Scolari said. "This helps me leave the sadness behind and stick to the positive things that are happening."

The coach was told about Schneider's death just before the team's training session outside Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, one of the last before the opener.

"Sometimes we have to deal with some difficulties, but you have to try to move on," Scolari said.

Schneider's brother, Darlan, was one of Brazil's physical trainers when Scolari's team won the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

Highway police in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul said Schneider, the son of one of Scolari's sisters, died when the car he was driving collided head-on with a truck on the opposite lane.

It's not the first time that Scolari has had to deal with a personal tragedy since Brazil began its World Cup preparations. Last month, he had to leave the training camp to attend the funeral of one of his brothers-in-law.

There was also a shadow cast over the start of the 2010 tournament in South Africa, when Nelson Mandela was not able to attend the tournament's opening match because his 13-year-old great-granddaughter died in a car crash on the way home from a tournament-eve concert.

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