Copa America 2019: 'You don't cancel out Lionel Messi', says Brazil coach Tite ahead of semi-final clash
What's the story?
The Brazilian tactician believes that the Blaugrana star is unstoppable but insists that his men can slow him down instead.
In case you didn't know...
Brazil are set to lock horns with their continental rivals Argentina in the Copa America semi-finals. Selecao have been unbeatable until now, while on the other hand, La Albieceleste had a rather shocking start to their tournament as they were defeated by Colombia, who registered their first win against the Argentines since 2007.
Argentina booked their place in the last four after having registered a comfortable 2-0 win against Venezuela. On the other hand, Brazil had to rely on Alisson Becker's heroics, who helped them win the penalty shootout against Paraguay in the quarter-finals.
In what may be his last chance to pin an international trophy to his name, Lionel Messi has failed to live up to the expectations. Recently, the Blaugrana star himself admitted that his performances in the continental tournament haven't been what is expected from him.
After being the runner-ups of the previous two editions of the Copa America, Argentina will look to glide past Brazil to claim the title, though, Brazil has been a far better side in the tournament so far.
The heart of the matter
Talking ahead of their crucial clash against Argentina, Brazil coach Tite said:
"We spoke not only of the individuality of Argentina. They have grown in collective terms as well,"
"The collective enhances individuality. You don't cancel out Messi, no, you can slow his actions, but you cannot neutralise his actions."
"Just as [Philippe] Coutinho does not neutralise himself, [Roberto] Firmino, David Neres. They will, at some point, be decisive."
Praising the Brazil fans for their support and urging them to create the same atmosphere in the Estadio Mineirao, Tite said:
"If the fans can bring all the affection they have given us when we arrived at the hotel to the stadium, it will leave me and all the players gratified and strengthened,"
Brazil and Argentina will lock horns on the 3rd of July to book a place in the Copa America 2019 final against Chile/Peru.