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Copa America 2019 - Brazil's road to the final

Louis Smith
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
283   //    05 Jul 2019, 16:18 IST

Brazil v Argentina: Semi Final - Copa America Brazil 2019
Brazil v Argentina: Semi Final - Copa America Brazil 2019


July 8th 2014, a day many Brazilians cannot forget. Their team have been annihilated 7-1 in their own backyard in Belo Horizonte. A day many Brazilians are embarrassed about to this day, a day which saw Brazilians fall out of love with football.

With the aims of getting Brazilian fans back on-board with their national team and repairing some of the damage caused on that awful evening in 2014, a shot at winning the Copa America on home soil would be perfect for the Brazilians and fans of the Brazil national team. Tuesday’s victory over bitter rivals Argentina sent them into the final where they will aim to be champions of South America for the ninth time.

Just under three weeks ago, the hosts got their Copa America campaign underway.  Being the host nation comes with the huge weight of expectation, but for Brazil, this expectation was much bigger due to their heartbreaking defeat to Germany the last time they hosted a major international tournament.

The first game saw Brazil take on Bolivia, a game where they were expected to dominate proceedings. A 3-0 victory, you would think that Brazil did just that. However, at the break, the hosts went in 0-0 and were booed off the field. The second half began and an early goal changed things but that still didn't get the media off Brazil's back.

Venezuela was next up for the Brazilians and once again they didn't do anything to please their hopeful fans. They tried and failed to break down their opponents but couldn't do it. They did find the net three times only for VAR to step in and correctly rule them out. Meaning the went into their last game with work to do not only for their fans but to top the group. 

The best game of the tournament so far for the Brazilians happened to come against the team they will come up against in Sunday's showdown. In the group stage, the shackles finally came off as Brazil went on a manhunt as they put five past Peru, who didn't have an answer to the attack of Brazil as the players finally seemed to gel together. One player who impressed in this game was Everton or 'Onion-head' as the Brazilians like to call him. He managed to grab himself a goal, and what a goal it was! The Brazilians managed five goals without reply, coming from five different scorers all over the field.

After the group-stage came the knockouts where nothing could be ruled out, and Brazil faced a familiar foe - Paraguay, who knocked Brazil out of the Copa America in the same stage in 2015 and in 2011 in a penalty shootout. After a long boring 90 Minutes, viewers were glad that extra time wasn't used as neither side looked like they were going to score which meant it was time for penalties. This time it was the Brazilians who tasted success from the spot and earned some much-needed revenge over the Paraguayans. Gabriel Jesus slotting the winning spot-kick home and set up a semi-final showdown with bitter rivals Argentina.

The semi-final wasn't pretty and wasn't short of controversy but it were the Brazilians who managed to get the job done in the end. Goals from Jesus and Firmino gave Brazil a two-goal lead, then two separate shouts for an Argentina penalty came which were turned down by both the referee and the VAR officials, one of which looked like a stonewall penalty after Arthur elbowed Nicolas Otamendi in the box.

However, for Argentina, it wasn't to be and it was Brazil who ended up being two-goal winners sending them into the Copa America final on Sunday. Champions League-winning shot-stopper Alisson has already claimed the golden glove and is yet to concede a goal for the hosts in this tournament.

After Peru's heroics in the other semi-final against defending champions Chile, Brazil are set to battle the two-time champions in the final. Will they finally win their first piece of silverware after a twelve-year wait?

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