Neymar scores as Brazil continue march to World Cup finals

The World Cup is the pinnacle of the sports calendar. So it is no surprise that every single team and player in the tournament is striving to make their mark. And it is no surprise either that Brazil are the ones who have been doing the most to get everyone talking. After all, the hosts have been the team everyone wants to beat, and they have so far delivered…

There is no doubt that Brazil is one of the strongest teams out there. The squad has been tipped to win the World Cup for the past few years and rightly so. However, at the same time, there is a lot of pressure on Brazil to win. Not only is there a lot of pressure on the team to win the World Cup, there is also pressure on the team to perform especially in the group stage. Brazil won its group last year but lost twice in its next two games. The team managed to beat Spain in the quarterfinals but lost to the Netherlands in the semifinals.

While everyone waits for the Brazilian players to announce their position on participating in the Copa America, they talk with their feet. Brazil maintained their 100 percent record in World Cup qualifying on Friday night with a 2-0 home win over Ecuador. – 2022 FIFA World Cup? How the world qualifies – Why the Copa America moved to Brazil The task was not easy against third-placed Ecuador, who showed once again why Argentine coach Gustavo Alfaro is so well placed. He is a very skilled organizer of compact teams, trying to mark the front line and then launching quick counter-attacks. Porto Alegre showed little sign of counter-attacking, however, and the Brazilian defence had a quiet evening. But Ecuador made them work hard and think hard in search of victory. And since Ecuador’s main rivals for qualification did not win on Thursday, they will return home confident in their abilities. It wasn’t just Ecuador’s defensive discipline that made things difficult for Brazil. This was their first game since November, and with limited time on the practice field, it was no surprise that the games didn’t work out. Twenty-four hours earlier, Argentina and Uruguay experienced the same problem in their home games. The long break between the fourth and fifth innings took a lot of pressure off the defense. And Brazil compounded their lack of collective understanding by fielding a team surprisingly different from the one that Uruguay beat in Montevideo nearly seven months ago. Some of the changes were welcome, such as the return of goalkeeper Alisson, central midfielder Casemiro and key attacking talent Neymar. Some of them were forced. With Thiago Silva and Douglas Luiz unavailable, Eder Militao and Fred had chances. Lucas Paquette has taken the place that would normally be occupied by Philippe Coutinho. There was a surprise: Alex Sandro replaced Renan Lodi at left back. And an interesting experiment: Local hero Gabriel Gabigol Barbosa has been recalled to the problematic position of centre striker after a five-year hiatus. Neymar applauds as he scored from the penalty spot on the second attempt. SILVIO AVILA/AFP via Getty Images Brazil started the match with Gabigol for Neymar on the left, Paqueta in the middle and Richarlison on the right and had a disappointing half hour in which they failed to impress. Coach Tite has his issues mixed up. In search of more ball possession, Neymar moved to midfield, Richarlison swapped to the wing and Paquette was sent to the right wing where he was not quite comfortable. Chances presented themselves as space opened up, but after an hour of play another moment led to a break. Tite was ready to field Gabriel Jesus, almost certainly in place of Paquete, but Fred made a mistake in preparation for the change. He had already received a yellow card and the Ecuadorian players surrounded the referee and asked for a red card. There was no justice in their case, but Tithe was not willing to take that risk. Fred came out, Jesus moved to the right wing and Paquette moved to the middle of midfield. It was one of the many roles Paquette played during his time with Flamengo. Tite has no faith in the defensive discipline of Lyon’s midfield, but this was a match where creativity was far more important than marking in midfield. Soon after, Javier Arreaga tried to get the ball out of the defense, but it was stopped by Paquete. Neymar stepped inside, took the ball and passed to Richarlison on the left, whose shot beat goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez at the far post. word-image-6200 Dan Thomas is joined by Craig Burley, Shaka Hislop and others to bring you the latest developments and discuss key storylines. Broadcast on ESPN+ (US only). Ecuador was forced to reorganize its attack and space was created, suggesting a second goal for Brazil. Gabigol moved well up the attacking line and came close to scoring a goal before giving way to Roberto Firmino. The match seemed to be heading for a 1-0 victory for Brazil until VAR was shown at the end of the match. First the video referee awarded a penalty after a scuffle near the goal. After reviewing the evidence, referee Alexis Herrera agreed that Jesus had committed a foul and pointed to the penalty spot. After a long delay, Neymar came on and his shot was saved by Dominguez, who dived to his right. Play resumed and halftime broke until the action was stopped two minutes later when VAR ruled that Dominguez had crossed the line after a save. It was on the edge and perhaps too intrusive. This led to another long deficit before Neymar recovered, kept his composure and scored with a deft shot into the keeper’s left corner. The reigning South American champions, with five wins from five matches on their way to Qatar, are expected to be on target when they travel to Paraguay on Tuesday in the Round of 16. Instead, internal chaos ensues. The players and coach are clearly unhappy with the idea of participating in the Copa America and are at odds with federation president Rodrigo Caboclo. The players want to wait until after the game against Paraguay to announce their position on the Copa America. That was not the case Friday night, as Brazil has never lost a World Cup qualifier at home. But history could be made on Tuesday night when Brazilian players make their views on the controversial Copa known.

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