Great escape! Toothless Brazil shake off history to survive Copa quarter-final scare
The Brazil bandwagon rolls on, but only just. Alisson came to the rescue with a decisive penalty shoot-out save to send the Copa America hosts into the semi-final, but their clash against Paraguay – a huge relief after going down to the same rivals in the same fashion in 2011 and 2015 – should have been decided far earlier as their weaknesses going forward were exposed for all of South America to see.
Robbed of the dangerous Richarlison after the Everton forward came down with a bout of the mumps in the build-up to Thursday’s clash, and with Fernandinho and Casemiro also missing, Brazil nevertheless came out to win in Porto Alegre with an adventurous line-up that paired for the first time from the start Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus up front.