This time, there was no rout, no scoreline to ring through the ages. There were no tears, no eulogies.
In many ways, that is the most damning thing about the quiet death of Brazil’s Copa América hopes: there was none of the shock and awe of the game known simply as “The 7-1”. On this occasion there was barely a whimper of defiance as the Seleção muddled their way to a draw with Paraguay and – for the second time in four years – came up short in a penalty shootout.
The quarter-final performance was entirely of a piece with the rest of Brazil’s campaign. There was no fluency, no pattern to their play. Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho toiled away but produced nothing. In midfield, Elias and Fernandinho seemed content to play sideways passes and let the full-backs provide what little attacking thrust there was. With Neymar absent, there was simply no spark.
Read my Copa América post-mortem on the Rabona website.