Brazil have always been required to play beautiful and attractive football, but national team boss Dunga had his hands tied for the recent knockout match against Venezuela in the Copa America.
Without the team’s star striker Neymar, the coach decided to opt for a pragmatic approach to the game. Brazil managed to please a lot of fans after reaching the quarter-finals by beating the opposition 2-1 with goals from Thiago Silva and Roberto Firmino. Brazil looked to be comfortably reaching the next stage of the competition before Fedor’s late goal raised to some hopes for Venezuela but they disappear quickly.
Dunga has claimed that winning is more important than playing attractive football. Neymar will miss the rest of the tournament – even if Brazil reached the final – after being given a four match suspension for his inability to control himself in the 1-0 defeat against Colombia. Brazil qualified for the knockout stages despite this defeat. After having overcome Venezuela in the first knockout round, they will take on Paraguay in the quarter-finals. Brazil are amongst the favourites to win the tournament, but the lack of Neymar has brought back memories of the painful exit in the World Cup 2014. Brazil lost back-to-back matches without their talisman striker in this competition.
“The Copa America is difficult because in every game there has been a difference of only one goal. Only Chile have achieved something different. Now we have to play to win. The final phase is a tournament apart, there is no room for a wrong move. We always work to make sure the team doesn’t depend on only one player. We try to make sure that everyone can make the difference. We believe now that Brazil will play better, have more capacity for that and have confidence,” said the national team boss.