Saturday, July 9, 2011
Copa America: Brazil Draws 2-2 with Paraguay
Brazil drew 2-2 against Paraguay in their second round match of Copa America, leaving them tied with Paraguay in second place for Group B. Brazil now face Ecuador in their final group match and need a victory to assure qualification into the next round. Jadson opened the scoring for Brazil after his surprise inclusion instead of Robinho. Paraguay continued to apply the pressure they brought to the opening minutes of the game in the second half and were rewarded with two goals in the space of twelve minutes from Roque Santa Cruz and Nelson Valdez. Mano substituted Lucas of Sao Paulo for Ramires and Fred for Neymar in an effort to spark the Brazilian attack but Paraguay packed the defense and were unlucky to concede a last minute goal from Fred. The Fluminense striker turned and fired a low shot past the keeper's right with one touch from a through ball flicked through the center of the defense by Ganso. Fred's goal keeps Brazil's Copa America hopes alive as questions begin to mount about Mano Menezes's tactics and inconsistent midfield formations. Brazil fans can take consolation that Paulo Henrique Ganso provided assists for both goals and will go into the Ecuador game with the confidence that he can pick out the Selecao's strikers. Moreover, Fred showed once again that he can put the ball in the back of the net and fill the center forward role that Brazil otherwise lacks. Meanwhile, defending champions Brazil continue to fight for a place in the knockout stages. Given strong performances by the Brazil substitutes against Paraguay, it's anyone's guess as to who will feature in the Brazil starting line-up on Wednesday against Ecuador.