Gabriel Jesus finally got the ball online in a big tournament. It is not considered a goal in the record books – but it saw Brazil defeat Paraguay on penalties to make it to the last four of the Copa America, after regular time ended 0-0 in Porto Alegre on Thursday. Brazil.
The flash almost struck for the third time. Paraguay defeated Brazil following a penalty shoot-out in the Copa quarter-finals in 2011 and 2015. The second time Derlis Gonzalez has dealt the death blow. He is one of the best penalties in Paraguay. When he rose to the fifth point kick on Thursday, the chance of another surprise seemed great. In the group match against Argentina, he saw a penalty. To avoid the same fate, he overcompensated and hit far. Jesus did the rest.
In the midst of the relief and euphoria of the Brazilian festivities, one big question can not be avoided: Brazil has led to a goalless draw and a penalty shootout against a team that has fallen out of the competition Did you win without winning a single game?
– Full schedule for the Copa America Games
– Brazil punished for Bolivia
This question is answered six answers in this game.
One depends on the nature of football. It's a low scoring game where defense is easier than attacking, especially if it's a team's overriding goal.
The second has to do with the dynamics of KO football, especially in the Copa America. The group phase is a breeze. Eight of the 12 teams go through. Brazil's place in the second round was never in question. Suddenly, everything does not count anymore. A single mistake could lead to elimination. Nerves are suddenly a factor.
Number three is pure luck. As Brazil rushed to late pressure, Willian's shot came back from the inside of the post. Everton and Philippe Coutinho barely distracted the shots. On another day they would have gone in and the game would have developed in a different way, which would be much cheaper for the hosts.
The fourth reason is the legendary resilience of the Paraguayans. They have a long tradition of heroic defense and protect their goal with a strange kind of desperate calm. They are dreaded opponents for just that reason, and they are up to the occasion as their story demands.
Five is the terrible condition of the playing field in Porto Alegre. There was a lot of snooping in Brazil when Lionel Messi complained about the surface after Argentina's win over Qatar last Sunday. He missed a chance when the ball took a ball just before he reached it. In this game, however, Brazil has been suffering from a surface far below the quality expected for a top game. A bad playing field is far worse for the attacking team than for the defending team – and it was especially damaging for a team with Brazilian characteristics.
This brings us to the point six: serious defect of the work of Brazil coach Tite since last year's World Cup. Tite has weathered the 2-1 quarter-final defeat by Belgium over the past year – and his conclusions are reflected in the improvements he has made to the team. Considering that he left the side too open, the midfield is now more cautious, and the full-backs are less daring and defensively firmer than last year.
Also the coach came from Russia and deeply regretted this. He had insisted so long that Jesus was out of shape. Everything would have been different, he believed, if Roberto Firmino had been the first choice. This belief – which is not to be tested – seems indeed to have settled. Firmino has spent a year in the center forward – and despite all his many virtues, it still has to work. That's not because Firmino is not good enough. This is because his virtues have not yet been incorporated into the structure of the site.
The attack lacks the presence of a penalty area. They are easy. Once they have taken the lead and space is available, they can go to town. But against determined defenses – and especially on a below-average playing field – proves the crucial first goal as very difficult. No matter what happens in the remainder of the tournament – and at home, Brazil are sure to be in pole position to win the trophy. 19659015]