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Fred quits international football

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FRED-CELEBRIO DE JANEIRO, July 13- Brazil striker Fred, cast as the scapegoat by many fans for the World Cup hosts’ semi-final implosion to Germany, on Sunday announced his retirement from international football.

“For me, the Selecao is finished,” the 30-year-old Fluminense forward told the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper.

Fred ended the competition with a solitary goal, and was jeered by Brazilian supporters after being subsituted in Tuesday’s 7-1 semi-final rout in Belo Horizonte.

Fred paid the price for his ineffectiveness in front of goal when being replaced by Jo in Saturday’s third place play-off. The switch failed to have the desired effect, with Brazil losing 3-0 to the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff thanked the Brazilian World Cup team for “moments of joy” prior to a stunning exit.

The five-time champions signed off from the tournament in miserable fashion, annihilated 7-1 by Germany in their semi-final before losing 3-0 to the Netherlands to squander third place.

But Rousseff said the team could still hold its head high.

“Dear players, dear technical commission: You and Brazilian football are better than just a one-off result,” Rousseff wrote in a personal letter to the team.

Brazil’s loss to Germany was its greatest ever World Cup reverse and a humiliation locals are comparing with their 1950 “Maracanazo” shock loss to Uruguay.

But Rousseff, who is seeking re-election in October, said: “We Brazilians do not lift the Cup but we have organized the Cup of Cups.”

“Without you that would never have been possible,” she added. “What will remain etched on our people’s hearts are the moments of joy you gave us at this Cup and which you will surely offer at Cups to come.”

Rousseff responded to the Germany loss by promising government support for a thorough reform of the Brazilian game.

She wants to push reforms that might persuade young talent to apply their skills domestically rather than rush off to seek fame in Europe.

“We shall be able to gain from today’s lessons to improve our football, both inside and outside the stadiums. This is how we shall enrich our team’s success story,” Rousseff concluded.

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