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Perhaps it was because of the blatant handball. Perhaps it was their best player not playing in the tournament. Perhaps it was a faulty lineup made by the manager. Whatever is was, Brazil are eliminated and going home after a disastrous Copa America. Now they can focus on the Olympics that they are hosting, but let’s take a look back at the performances and see where the Brazilians went wrong.

First and foremost, Neymar wasn’t there. Brazil kept him out of the tournament in order to have him ready for the Olympics. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, considering he watched the tournament in the United States in person anyways. At the very least, they could have simply limited his minutes, and had a massive effect. He was the heart and soul of the team, and it was ripped out, before the tournament even began. Neymar was hanging out with Justin Bieber and plenty of other celebrities, something I’m sure will have him in tip top form for the Olympics.

Dunga WAS the head man in charge, so he is to take a brunt of the blame. He was previously the manager from 2006-2010, and was re-appointed just after the 2014 World Cup. He had a pretty disappointing appearance in the 2015 Copa America. Now the manager is OUT, being released from his duties almost immediately following the group stage. In the midst of World Cup qualifying, the Brazilians will need a new coach quickly to ensure they don’t miss out on the grandest stage. Enough about the future, back to the trainwreck.

The tournament started decently enough. A 0-0 draw with the next highest ranked team in the group is nothing to be down about. But the Ecuador match was only the beginning of the downfall. They got a false sense of confidence by dominating one of the worst teams in the tournament. A 7-1 drubbing got the Brazilians swagger going, and also brought up some painful memories of their beatdown at the hands of Germany in the World Cup.

Then came the fateful matchup with Peru. Brazil didn’t show the urgency that would have secured them a place in the final 8. When you let minnows hang around, their confidence will grow by the minute. That is indeed what happened, until late in the 2nd half, when a missed handball scored the only goal of the match. The replays are very clear and might be Peru’s “hand of God” goal if they go on to win the tournament. The final 15 minutes proved fruitless and ended with a 1-0 defeat.

Ecuador ended up winning the group with 7 points, while Peru finished second with 5 points. Brazil finished just behind with 4 points, and Haiti were bottom with zero points. Despite an impressive +5 goal differential, Brazil failed to score against Ecuador and Peru. You simply can’t expect to compete and advance when you don’t score goals in 2 out of 3 group games.

Now the Brazilians can only look back and learn from their disastrous experience and hope the Olympics go well. They also need to move on quickly and not let this affect their performance in other competitions. We can only wait to see if they recover.


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