By Lisa Flueckiger, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Seleção lost their first game in the new era of coach Dunga suffering a 1-0 defeat against Colombia in their second Copa America group match yesterday, June 17th. The twelfth game since the World Cup was hectic and erratic and ended with a red card for captain Neymar.
The replay of the World Cup’s quarter final between the two sides, where Neymar got fouled and injured so badly he had to miss subsequent matches, promised to be a contested one. The tension between the two teams on the pitch was visible and it quickly became a game with many fouls.
However, the Colombians managed the tension better and soon had more of the game. Brazil’s midfield, the driving force in the last games, was basically nonexistent with many lost passes and unable to build up pressure on the Colombian side. The only one from the back who pushed forward was Daniel Alves, with Willian, Fred and Elias seeming lost.
Roberto Firmino, who got the chance over Diego Tardelli, also disappointed as a striker. He was very inactive in the first half and lost a hundred percent chance in the second half, when he missed the empty goal.
Colombia’s Jeison Murrillo scored the only goal of the game, after a free kick taken by Cuadrado had caused some confusion in the box before it landed at the striker’s feet. He then placed the ball precisely into the goal’s corner for the 1-0 lead.
The Colombians had several chances after the goal, but missed them by bits. For Brazil, Neymar came close to the goal a couple of times, but also got caught up in fights with the referee and his opponents. The captain of the Seleção subsequently got booked for touching the ball with his hand during an attack.
With the second yellow card after two games, it was already clear Neymar would miss the next game against Venezuela, but to make things worse, he got caught up in another fight with the Colombians after the game had already ended and the referee showed him and Colombian Bacca the red card.
“We expected a tough game [against Colombia], all games are competitive. Colombia has an excellent team, strong, considered as one of the favorites. We did not expect to lose, we came to win the game, but now we will face a decisive game. One can say that we lost at the right time, when we could lose. From now on, there are only decisive games,” midfielder Elias said after the game.
Brazil, without Neymar, will have to fight for the progression into the quarter finals in a direct confrontation with Venezuela on Sunday, June 21st, while Colombia faces Peru.