JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Brazil demanded greater protection for their artists from World Cup assassins on Wednesday.
Midfield star Elano became the five-time champions' latest injury casualty when the Galatasary player, who has scored twice in the tournament, was rated as doubtful for Friday's quarter-final against the Netherlands.
Elano picked up an ankle injury in the group match win over Ivory Coast and he subsequently missed the scoreless draw with Portugal and Monday's 3-0 round-of-16 win over Chile.
"I didn't get the chance to speak to the referee (after the incident against the Ivory Coast), but he didn't even whistle for a foul. There was a foul on Robinho later that should really have merited a red card," said Elano.
The referee for that match, Stephane Lannoy awarded a drop-ball instead.
"We have various characteristics in our squad, but there is no-one who goes out there with the intention of injuring an opponent," added Elano.
"The problem is that it's me who pays the price because I can't be available for my team. These fouls must be punished."
Brazil coach Dunga also believes his players are not being protected sufficiently and was angry that Kaka was yellow-carded in the 3-0 last 16 win over Chile on Tuesday.
"The technical players are punished and those who commit the fouls are not. It's pathetic," said Dunga.
Central defender Juan, who earns his living playing with Roma in the rough and tumble of Serie A, believes players like Elano are deliberately targeted.
"I deeply regret that a professional footballer goes on to the pitch with the intention of injuring a player as was the case with Elano," said Juan.
"I think teams have to play hard against Brazil because they know that Brazil know how to play football and when we play a little tougher, we are carded."
Meanwhile, Brazil team doctor Jose Luis Runco said Elano could be ready to play next week if Brazil progress beyond Friday's Port Elizabeth clash with the Dutch.
However, he also admitted there was also a chance that the Galatasaray midfielder could miss the rest of the tournament.
"Elano has been undergoing intensive treatment which can take a few days, weeks or a month," Runco told a press conference here on Wednesday.
"Each day we will make an evaluation of him. It's hard to gauge his exact prospects at this stage."
Runco said scans had revealed that Elano has a deep-seated bruised bone which will prevent him from having impact training with the rest of the players until at least Friday.
Complicating the issue for Dunga is that Elano's likely replacement, Benfica's Ramires, is suspended from the next match after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament against Chile.
"It was a spectacular start to the tournament after scoring two goals in the first two matches," Elano added.
"I am disappointed, but I remain positive. I'm hopeful that I will still be able to play."
Elano's ankle took the full brunt of a crunching tackle from Ismael Tiote midway through the match against Ivory Coast at Soccer City on June 20.
"I don't like to complain, but this type of violence needs to be analysed," he said.
"People talk about the ball, about using video to see if it was a goal or not, but I wanted to go to the referee and say, 'You didn't even call a foul?'"
Although Tiote was not cautioned for his tackle on Elano he received a yellow card later in the same match.
Runco said that midfielder Felipe Melo also has a left ankle injury, but it was too early to say whether he would be able to play against the Netherlands.
|5||G. van Bronckhorst|
|2||G. van der Wiel||47'|
|10||W. Sneijder||53' 68'|
|6||M. van Bommel|
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|9||R. van Persie|
|Coach: B. van Marwijk|
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