Brazil, under scrutiny, looks to Neymar and their storied past for renewed optimism following their Copa America setback.

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Neymar calls for a foul in the match

When Brazil lost to Uruguay in the Copa America quarterfinals on Saturday night in Las Vegas, Neymar cried for his disappointed teammates while attending a samba concert in Brazil.

At the beginning of the Copa, the team and its top scorer weren’t fully focused on the tournament. Looking ahead, they’ll need each other desperately in two years for a different outcome at the next World Cup.

Currently, there are few indications that Brazil and Neymar will reconnect in time to make a significant impact.

Neymar couldn’t participate in the Copa due to a knee injury sustained last October. Vinicius Junior, Brazil’s top scorer with two goals in the Copa, missed the Uruguay quarterfinal due to suspension. Teenage sensation Endrick also didn’t score during the tournament.

Before the Copa America, hopes of Brazil winning their first title in 17 years were not high. The team was sixth in South America’s World Cup qualifying, lacked Neymar, and faced tough competition from World Cup champions Argentina.

However, the team’s performance — a goalless draw with Costa Rica, being outplayed by Colombia, and failing to score against a 10-man Uruguay — fell below expectations.

“It’s not the first time they’ve said we’re finished, but believe it, we will win again,” said the Brazilian Football Confederation on social media on Monday, acknowledging the team’s shortcomings publicly.

“We are the national team with the most wins in the history of the game. But losing is also part of our history.”

Brazilian commentators, former players, and analysts believe the team can bounce back but question whether coach Dorival Júnior, who took over in January, is the right person to lead that process.

They also criticize Neymar for not maximizing his talent while playing in Saudi Arabia away from top leagues and for focusing too much on his personal life. Additionally, they point out that Brazil wasted a whole year under interim coach Fernando Diniz, allegedly because CBF officials were waiting for Carlo Ancelotti to leave Real Madrid.

“We need to pick up the pace after this Copa America because we’re starting preparations for the World Cup now,” said Júnior, a TV Globo analyst who played for Brazil’s 1982 World Cup team. “France has had the same coach for years and many of the same players. Spain started like us and now they’re ahead. Argentina’s getting older but still tough to beat. Brazil is falling behind.”

Fans who look back nostalgically to 2001 believe Brazil can turn things around quickly. That year, under new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil was knocked out of the Copa quarterfinals by Honduras. That setback led supporters to believe Brazil had no chance in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Brazil’s star player at the time, Ronaldo, missed that Copa due to injury. But after a team overhaul and his recovery from a second ACL injury, he led Brazil to its fifth World Cup title.

Neymar Jr. reacts in the egame

Several Brazil players hurt their chances for the 2026 World Cup during the Copa America. Others, like goalkeeper Alisson, defender Danilo, midfielder João Gomes, and striker Raphinha, didn’t perform well and are under more pressure.

“It was an honor to be with this squad; there was a lot of work, professionalism, and effort,” said Danilo after Brazil’s exit in the quarterfinals. “This young team showed it could achieve great things. I just hope people can be a bit more patient.”

As Neymar, 32, recovers from his ACL injury, he has become an even more divisive figure in Brazil. He has had arguments with celebrities, politicians, and fellow footballers. Some supporters have argued against his return to the national team.

But despite Brazil’s disappointing performance in the Copa, Brazilian analysts say Neymar was the biggest winner from the tournament and remains crucial to the team’s future.


By Brian Anderson

Hi myself Brian, I am a second-year student at Symbiosis Centre of Management Studies, Noida, pursuing a BBA degree. I am a multi-faceted individual with a passion for various hobbies, including cricket, football, music, and sketching. Beyond my hobbies, I possess a keen interest in literature, particularly fictional books, and channels my creativity into content writing. I am constantly exploring the realms of both business administration and the world of imagination through my diverse pursuits.

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