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Jun 27, 2024 8:49 pm

Brazil aims for bounce-back display vs. Paraguay

Marquinhos

Group D favorites Brazil will look to respond on Friday night in Las Vegas from an underwhelming performance in their Copa America opener when they face a Paraguay side that felt it deserved better than defeat in its first game.

Brazil (0-0-1, 1 point) were held to a 0-0 draw by Costa Rica (0-0-1, 1 point) on Monday night in a game where the five-time World Cup champions dominated possession and chances as expected, but only forced Ticos goalkeeper Patrick Sequeira into four saves.

Manager Dorival Junior raised eyebrows when he removed Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior in the 71st minute. But even that daring change couldn’t shake his side out of the attacking struggles that have plagued the Selecao since the start of 2026 World Cup qualifying last fall.

Brazil scored only three goals in its last five matches in the South American round-robin, resulting in the dismissal of previous coach Fernando Diniz and Dorival Junior’s January appointment.

The current coach pointed to the fact that at least his side created a high volume of chances, and captain Marquinhos asked his nation’s fans for patience in implementing the new manager’s ideas.

“I would like to ask every Brazilian and every fan of our team to keep their faith in us, to support us,” Marquinhos said through an interpreter. “As players, we know that we can always try to do things better. In the last match we saw (that), and we were frustrated in the locker room. We know that of course we had some good moments, but we need to work on some weaknesses and details. And we are on that path.”

Paraguay (0-1-0, 0 points) lags Brazil by two points in World Cup qualifying, with the two nations yet to face each other through six games of 18 total. In this tournament, Paraguay can only control its destiny in terms of advancing to the quarterfinals if they earn an upset win here.

But despite a 2-1 defeat to Colombia on Monday to open their competition, manager Daniel Garnero believes the second-half performance provided reason for optimism.

Julio Enciso cut Paraguay’s deficit in half in the 69th minute, though La Tri could not translate their late pressure into quality chances, managing only one shot after Enciso’s goal.

“We had some difficulties in the first half,” Garnero said. “But after the modifications in the second half, we were more aggressive. We got to the box. We had the chances. I think we need to be a bit more at ease for the last pass.”

–Field Level Media

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