The highly anticipated clash between Columbia and Brazil took a different direction when first – Brazil lost 0-1 to Columbia with Neymar totally off-colour almost throughout the match, and second – the physical fight between Carlos Bacca of Columbia and Neymar that saw both of them receive red cards from the referee after the game.
Neymar was seen to hit the ball at Pablo Armero on full-time whistle before head butting the winning goal-scorer for Columbia, Jeison Murillo who jogged up to him to protest.
Neymar’s move saw Bacca shove the Brazilian away before all the players from both teams assembled to handle the situation.
However, the referee reported that Neymar even insulted him en route to the dressing room and even attempted to grab the former’s arm. And this gesture saw the 23-year-old Barcelona star get a four-match ban that could precisely see him miss the rest of Copa America, should Brazil advance.
The decision left Brazil in the same situation as that of last year’s World Cup semi-finals when they suffered a shameful and painful 0-7 defeat to Germany after Neymar suffered spinal cord injury in the quarter final.
Sunday’s group match between Venezuela and Brazil albeit had a different story to tell. Brazil had no other choice than to win or at least draw the match, both of which would have paved their way to the quarter finals of the tournament. And the five-time world champions showed promise that they can survive without Neymar.
Chelsea star, Willian was the man of the match with Robinho supporting him. The order and coordination in the team was good news for Dunga in his preparation to make Brazil good even without Neymar.
Thiago Silva’s early goal at the ninth minute off a corner shot by Robinho and 23-year-old Roberto Firmino’s volley from a cross shot by Willian, saw Brazil get a win from Venezuela.
This performance succeeds Dunga and coordinator Gilmar Rinaldi’s desire to build a Neymar independent Brazil to some extent.
The ultimate test will start from Wednesday when the quarter finals commence, and Brazil faces last year’s runners-up, Paraguay.
Brazil withdraws appeal against Neymar’s ban
Following CONMEBOL’s (the organizer of Copa America) decision to hand Brazil’s star player, Neymar a four-match ban, Brazil decided that they would appeal against it.
However, on Sunday the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) decided that they wouldn’t go forward with the lengthy process of fighting Neymar’s ban and instead accept it.
An official statement of CBF said that after a meeting was held on Sunday evening between Neymar and the coaching staff, “it was decided that the CBF will comply with the decision of the Conmebol, which suspended the player for four games, which leaves out of the Copa America.”
The statement added, “The coaching staff and the player expect the same rigor with which Conmebol punished Neymar is adopted in all competitions organized by the entity.”
The statement informed that Neymar will depart from Chile on Monday after leaving Sheraton Hotel in Santiago where the team is staying.
Carlos Bacca’s mother says she would’ve hit Neymar with shoe
Instead of overlooking her son’s behaviour, Eloisa Ahumada, Carlos Bacca’s mother said in a report by Eurosport that she was “really annoyed” at the Columbian’s attitude because she has “never seen” it in a match before.
“I sent him a message telling him off because he didn’t need to react that way,” she added.
However, she expressed extreme anger for Neymar. “If I’d been in the stadium I would have taken off my high heel and hit Neymar. I know many women in the stadium would have joined me,” she added.
Unlike Neymar’s four-match ban, Bacca escaped with only two.
Barcelona teammates Messi and Jordi Alba stand beside Neymar
According to a report by Sport.es, 25-year-old Spaniard and Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba said that the suspension on Neymar was “unfair.”
He added that Neymar gets targeted by the opposition a lot. “Neymar he is very patient and has been silent for a long time,” he told Sport.es
He also told media that had it been him he would’ve “exploded” long before Neymar did.
Little magician, Lionel Messi also stood beside Neymar saying that he feels sorry that Neymar is no longer in Copa America.
In a report by BBC, he said: “Neymar is a friend and I care about him. I’m sorry about the suspension he was given because I believe he is a very important player for Brazil.”
It seems like a bad luck looms over Neymar whenever Brazil faces Columbia. He suffered a fractured vertebra in the quarter finals of last year’s World Cup after Juan Camilo Zuniga of Columbia committed a serious foul on him. The incident took Neymar out of the tournament and Brazil suffered a semi-final defeat to Germany.
Brazil coped with his loss well, but consistency is what matters with the opponents becoming tougher now by each stage.
Can they do it? Perhaps yes, if Dunga arranges his team well and players show immense mental strength and coordination.