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Nothing mellow about Brazil villain Felipe

Last updated on: July 3, 2010 16:06 IST

Melo failed to heed his father's warnings

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Brazil midfielder Felipe Melo failed to heed his father's warnings on Friday when he was sent off for recklessly stamping on Arjen Robben in their 2-1 World Cup quarter-final defeat by Netherlands.

Having scored an own goal early in the second half, the bruising midfielder firmly cast himself as the villain of the peace when Brazil fell at the last eight stage for the second World Cup in a row.

Felipe Melo has been habitually booked over the last two seasons, something he recently said he regards as an occupational hazard, and has also been red carded six times -- twice each with Fiorentina, Juventus and Brazil.

Photographs: Reuters


Image: Referee Yuichi Nishimura flashes the red card to Brazil's Felipe Melo for his foul on Arjen Robben

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'There's no way I'm the villain of the 2010 World Cup'

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Before the World Cup, many Brazilians, including his father, were worried his tendency to rash challenges could leave their team down to 10 men at the crucial stage of a knockout match.

It was exactly what happened.

Brazil were trailing 2-1 with 17 minutes to play when Felipe Melo lost his cool, stamped on Dutch winger Robben and left his team in an almost impossible situation.

Felipe Melo, whose earlier solid performances had won him plaudits, said: "There's no way I'm the villain of the 2010 World Cup.

"It was a collective mistake. When I was sent off, it was already 2-1... I accept my share of the blame. I apologise to the Brazilian fans because we wanted to be world champions and it didn't work out."


Image: Felipe Melo (right) fouls Arjen Robben to receive a red card

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'It would be unjust to blame Felipe Melo now'

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Coach Dunga bravely stood up for him but must know Felipe Melo will be savaged by the media when Brazil get home.

"As the commander of Brazil, I have to take most of the blame," Dunga told reporters.

"It would be unjust to blame Felipe Melo now. When we win, everyone shares the credit. It's the same when we lose."

Returning from a one-match injury absence, Felipe Melo began well, threading a superb pass through the Netherlands midfield to set up Robinho's opening goal early in the game.

But he was already getting riled by the niggly Dutch and his day began to unravel in the 53rd minute when he got in front of his goalkeeper Julio Cesar and flicked Wesley Sneijder's cross into his own net.

Twenty minutes later he was dismissed and may well have left the pitch haunted by his own words before the finals.

"I've really prepared for this World Cup," he said on the eve of their opening game. "I know that I can't afford to get sent off and leave Brazil with a man short."


Image: Felipe Melo (left) fights for the ball with Ivory Coast's Aruna Dindane

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