MONTEVIDEO: Brazil will be without Barcelona star Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain defender David Luiz today when they face a tricky 2018 World Cup qualifying trip to Paraguay with renewed uncertainty swirling around their campaign.
The Brazilians are licking their wounds after the disappointment of Friday’s 2-2 draw with Uruguay, when they squandered a two-goal lead and finished the game clinging on for the point.
For the opening half hour in Recife, Brazil were irresistible, attacking with precision and purpose in what looked like being their best performance since their 2014 World Cup semi-final debacle against Germany.
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But Uruguay’s fightback, begun with Edinson Cavani’s superb volley and completed by Luis Suarez’s predatory strike after half-time, has reawakened all of the old concerns about Brazil’s brittle defence, humiliated in the 7-1 thrashing by the Germans two years ago.
The frustration of allowing Uruguay back into the game eventually got the better of Neymar, who was cautioned for a petulant kick on Alvaro Gonzalez, meaning he will now be suspended for today’s trip to Asuncion.
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Former Chelsea centre-back Luiz also earned a booking on Friday that will see him miss the game against Paraguay, who are level on eight points with third-placed Brazil after five matches.
Brazil coach Dunga has called up Santos’s exciting teenage striker Gabriel Barbosa, a star of the Olympic team, to replace Neymar while Corinthians defender Felipe will come in for Luiz.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2016.
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