At the beginning of this tournament you would have been forgiven as seeing this match as formality for Brazil to win, especially if you knew little about South American football. However, as the tournament has progressed, events on and off the pitch have changed all of the Copa America predictions drastically, as suspensions and current form have levelled the playing field.
Brazil’s opening game saw the team claw back an early deficit and go on to win the match in injury time. Neymar scored the equaliser, created an audacious assist for the winner and picked up the man-of-the-match award in the process. Neymar seemed destined to make himself the key player of the tournament and re-establish Brazil as the kings of South American football.
This all changed in the second game as Neymar was red carded for a headset during an altercation, followed by a huge argument in the dressing room areas with officials that resulted in Neymar allegedly abusing the referee with insults and questioning his integrity. The result of this is that Neymar will miss the rest of the Copa America, thanks to a four game suspension.
Paraguay were put into the hardest group by far as they were paired with Argentina and Uruguay. After pulling back a two goal deficit against Argentina in their first match they are sure to be full of confidence. They managed to reach the final in 2011 and they are sure to feel confident that their style of high-energy and teamwork will break down Brazil.
Brazil are now left without their main attacking threat and most talismanic player. Brazil won their final group game without him but Neymar is sure to missed by the team. Brazil will have to put in a good performance to progress as Paraguay are sure to fight for every ball.