Copa America 2011: Brazil out

Fred struggles to control the ball against Paraguay (Mowa Press)

Brazil sensationally missed all four of their penalties in a penalty shootout against Paraguay as they crashed out of the Copa America at the quarter final stage. Unlike previous games at the competition, Brazil dominated the match from start to finish.  But on this occasion they were unable to find the back of the net and the game went to the lottery of a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of goalless football.

The penalty shootout – which Brazil lost 2-0 – must go down as one of the worst in Brazil’s history. Elano, Thiago Silva, André Santos and Fred all missed their spot kicks for Brazil. Thiago Silva’s penalty (what was he doing taking one anyway?) was stuffed down the goalkeeper’s throat and saved. Elano and André Santos’ both blasted high over the goal and Fred put his spot kick wide. It has to be said that the pitch was a disgrace and you could clearly see the turf underneath the ball being lifted (by the player’s leading foot) just before being kicked by André Santos and Fred. I’d put that penalty shootout loss down to the Argentinian groundsman.

However, Brazil’s main failure was their inability to convert chances. Neymar, Lucio and Pato all had excellent chances to score but good goalkeeping and poor finishing meant that the game would end 120 minutes without goals. Pato in particular was in frustrating mood once again. Beautiful ball control when it didn’t matter. Played in with just the keeper to beat and he overruns the ball. Neymar missed two clear chances. Ganso gave some good passes once again but was generally slow and uninvolved. He seems to be struggling for form following his injury problems this year and his market value will definitely have gone down after this tournament. Will anybody now (apart from Anzhi from Russia) be willing to meet his 45 million euro release clause?

They may be local superstars but Neymar and Ganso have both been given a hard lesson about international football: it is far more intense and competitive than domestic football in Brazil. They also don’t get the same kind of protection from referees like they do in Brazil.

My player ratings:

Julio César (6) a spectator for 120 minutes

Maicon (6) not the same kind of presence and drive that he showed against Ecuador

Lucio (7) solid

Thiago (7) same as Lucio

André Santos (6) did alright

Lucas Leiva (6) did his job but nothing more. Stupidly sent off

Ramires (7) ran around a lot again, made some things happen (more good than bad)

Robinho (7) probably Brazil’s best player on the night

Ganso (6) some glimpses of quality but drifted in and out of the game

Neymar (6) struggled to find space and missed two clear chances

Pato (5) missed chances again and needs to lead the line much better


Fred (5) really didn’t do anything after coming on for Neymar

Lucas Moura (7) his direct running looked a threat

Elano (5) blasted his penalty high and wide

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5 thoughts on “Copa America 2011: Brazil out

  1. I think that Mano got to place Ganso closer to the forwards somehow… he just didn’t join the attack in some plays, what could never happen in my opinion.

    Now I’m really concerned that Brazil won’t play the World Cup Qualifiers…. the team need more official tournaments to get the necessary experience and to find the best way of making individual qualities turning into results in the field.

    Mano got to bring Nilmar back to the team… his numbers with the yellow shirt are impressive, he’s much more effective than all forwards in this copa america brazil team, and is much faster and skillful than Fred. Luis Fabiano is now a certain name when he comes back from injury, his performance at the national team is also uncontestable.

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