Brazil trounced Ecuador 2-0 on Friday to win its fifth consecutive match in South American World Cup qualifying, despite a probable player mutiny.
It now has 15 points in the round-robin play, four more than Argentina in second place. Brazil’s qualification for four direct slots in Qatar 2022 appears to be a foregone conclusion.
At the Beira-Rio stadium in Porto Alegre, Richarlison scored the first goal in the 65th minute, and Neymar added the second from the penalty spot in added time. The entire team gathered around the coach to celebrate both goals.
However, since its country was named as the host of the Copa America, a problem has loomed over the team. The players indicated on Friday that they would not be willing to play the event at home because the COVID-19 pandemic is still killing hundreds of Brazilians every day. So far, around 470,000 people have died.
After spending the day hearing speculations that he could resign before the Copa America begins, Tite’s post-match press conference was one of the most anticipated in years.
On Thursday, the coach confirmed that his players had discussed the continental competition with Rogerio Caboclo, the president of the Brazilian soccer confederation (CBF). After Tuesday’s encounter against Paraguay, a definitive decision on the matter is likely.
Colombia and Argentina were supposed to co-host the Copa America at first. Colombia was compelled to withdraw two weeks ago due to civil upheaval. Argentina, meanwhile, declined to host it this week due to a similar deterioration of the pandemic.
Casemiro, who was barred from speaking to the media on Thursday, said after Brazil’s triumph over Ecuador on Friday that “the players’ viewpoint is very clear.” For the time being, more clarity is not possible.”
The squad captain stated, “We want to speak after the match against Paraguay because we don’t want to lose our focus.” “For us, this is the World Cup.”
Any choice “will come from all” of Brazil’s players, according to the midfielder. Local media reported earlier this week that European club footballers were heading the movement to boycott the Copa America.