Copa América: An agonizing Brazil celebrates in Rio de Janeiro | America’s Soccer Cup 2021

Neymar celebrates Casemiro's goal, before an empty stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Neymar celebrates Casemiro’s goal, before an empty stadium in Rio de Janeiro.CARL DE SOUZA / AFP

“After 7-1, the team lost its grace. I prefer to see my Basque in Serie B [la Segunda División brasileña]”, Says Fábio José, a driver who was resting on the outskirts of the Nilton Santos stadium. The result to which he alludes is the historical defeat of the Canarinha against Germany in the 2014 World Cup. On the soccer field, located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil faced their toughest rival in the group stage of the Copa América. Colombia was a challenge for Brazil’s offense that scored the goal in agony, in the 108th minute (2-1).

“I knew the Copa América was being played there, but I didn’t know that Brazil was playing today. Who is he playing against? ”Asked Luciana dos Santos, a neighbor from the neighborhood near one of the Copa América venues. Although the Brazilian national team tournament was ignored in the north of Rio de Janeiro, the main soccer stadium of the city lived a different reality eight kilometers away. Maracana, which is also located in the north of the capital, received at least a hundred Flamengo fans to see the arrival of the team’s bus, which beat Fortaleza on matchday six of the Brazilian League. A league match was more important than seeing Neymar, Richarlison, Marquinhos and Thiago Silva.

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Off the field, the issue continues to be the number of people infected with covid-19 in the South American tournament. This Wednesday, the Ministry of Health updated the number of positives for the new coronavirus related to the Copa América to 166, 48 of them being players or members of the technical committee of the national teams, 115 service providers hired for the event and three employees of the Conmebol. The Brazilian health authority and authorities have presented the information in an uneven and sometimes contradictory way.

The field of the Nilton Santos stadium, home of Botafogo, was badly damaged. Brazil coach Tite warned that the grass could complicate the smooth running of the game against Colombia. The Brazilians lost it from the 12th minute when a scissor goal by Luis Díaz beat goalkeeper Weverton for 0-1. The annotation fired up the Brazilians who took, until the final stretch of the game, to find the lucky goal of Roberto Firmino after a center from Lodi. On the way they found the rebound in the referee Nestor Pitana, something that, in theory, should paralyze the game and continue with a land bounce. It did not happen. The cheers of euphoria came in added time when Casemiro, free in the small area, headed in to make it 2-1. The screams emerged from a practically empty stadium.

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