Sports Burst - Casemiro's Brazil Rebellion

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"They have an opinion," admits Tite ahead of Copa America crunch talks with Brazil's bosses

 

Nine days to go till kick-off and there are yet more troubled waters churning around the extremely ill-fated Copa America v4. The latest turbulence - rapid switch from a nautical to aerial metaphor alert - is being caused by players from the new host nation pushing back against the plans of the Brazilian government lead by Jair Bolsonaro. 

 

Copa America Version 1 was supposedly taking place in the summer of 2020, but the COVID-19 outbreak put paid to that. 

Then there was v2 being held in both Colombia and Argentina this month. Colombia's social unrest ended that concept before the tournament was then relocated entirely to Argentina for v3. 

That idea was scrapped a few days later before CONMEBOL - South America's very busy governing body of soccer - moved the tournament to Brazil. Well, the only four regions of Brazil that volunteered to host the tournament in the middle of another wave of COVID-19 outbreaks and civil unrest. 

The new hurdle in the way of the tournament comes from an unlikely source - the Brazilian players themselves. The national team is due to play against Ecuador today in a World Cup qualifier. In the build-up to that match, Coach Tite and Captain Casemiro were supposed to talk to the press about the game. Except only Tite turned up. 

 

It was at this point that the Brazilian coach hinted rather strongly that some of the players did not want the tournament to go ahead in Brazil due to the current health situation. "They have an opinion," said Tite, "they've told it to the president and they will tell it to the people at the right time. That was the reason why Casemiro, our skipper, wasn't here for this interview."

It looks likely that a meeting will take place between the players and the Brazil federation president, Rogerio Caboclo, about their concerns after Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Paraguay on Tuesday. 

At that point, it's anyone's case what will happen but judging by Tite's rather sombre tone, a no-show from the players of the host nation and current holders should not be ruled out. 

 

 

Argentina pick up draw in World Cup clash

 

Tite was not the only national team coach warning that not all was well with the players' participation in the Copa America v4. 

 

Argentina's Lionel Scaloni spoke on Wednesday ahead of last night's World Cup qualifier against Chile and while affirming that the Albiceleste will give it their best in a tough situation, Scaloni admitted that the situation was "alarming and worrying because it is not the ideal place."

 

A day later, and his Argentina side played out to a 1-1 draw against Chile with Lionel Messi scoring the opening goal in the match from the penalty spot. Elsewhere, Uruguay and Paraguay played out a goalless draw while Colombia beat Peru 3-0.

 

 

USMNT overcome Honduras under 'Concacaf' conditions 

 

Back in the US of A, the USMNT were facing Honduras in the semifinal of the Concacaf Nations League before Young Boys forward, Jordan Siebatcheu, scored in the 89th minute, just 11 minutes after coming on for the States in his competitive debut. 

 

The US were fielding a number of big cheeses from Europe with Christian Pulisic, Sergino Dest, Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie all included and the game was predictably...scrappy. Concacaf scrappy.

"This game is exactly what we needed," declared head coach, Gregg Berhalter.

The USMNT will now face Mexico in Sunday's final after a penalty shootout victory against Costa Rica followed a goalless draw.


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