The 2021 Copa America is gradually reaching its business end and the boys are now being separated from the men in the competition. Of course, Brazil and Argentina are the big favourites. However, the likes of Uruguay and Colombia cannot be ruled out due to the equally great lineups they boast.
On Friday, though, Brazil became the first team to reach the semi-finals when they recorded a narrow victory over Chile in the quarter-final. The Selecao have been very impressive in the tournament, but this time around, they had to labour to get the better of Alexis Sanchez and Co.
Selecao win with 10-men
The first half of the game was evenly matched, with both teams creating some chances. Although Brazil looked much more threatening, they were still struggling to make a breakthrough.
Tite’s side, however, finally got the opener after the restart. Substitute Lucas Paqueta, who came on for Roberto Firmino, made an instant impact by scoring with his first touch.
The Lyon forward played a one-two with Neymar, causing chaos among the Chile defenders. When the ball spilled into his path, Paqueta fired a fierce shot into the net.
Two minutes later, though, Gabriel Jesus got himself sent off for a lazy high tackle, leaving Brazil to play with 10 men for the remaining 42 minutes of the game. The Selecao rode their luck at times as Chile began to dominate. However, they managed to survive a late onslaught to book their place in the semi-final.
Chile scare a timely warning to Brazil
Before Friday’s game, Brazil had virtually had an easy run throughout the group stage. They had dominated and made light work of all their opponents. However, Chile gave them a real challenge. They came close to securing an upset and on another day, they easily could have succeeded.
“Every match we need to get some tests to make us stronger, show we can do it in every circumstance. We had to stand together. It was very hard to do it,” Neymar admitted after the game, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
Brazil were definitely given a scare by Chile but the Selecao showed enough character and fight to protect their lead. However, bigger tests will come in the semi-final and final. The only way Tite’s side can survive them would be to up their game and avoid mistakes that their opponents can capitalise on.