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Brazil tries to join Argentina in Copa quarters

Brazil tries to join Argentina in Copa quarters

Having watched archrival Argentina scrape through to the Copa America knockout round, it's Brazil's turn to rebound from a difficult start and secure its own advancement.
Brazil faces Ecuador in its final Group B match Wednesday needing a win or draw to stay alive in the South American championship. Host Argentina also was on the brink of elimination but it beat Costa Rica 3-0 on Monday to reach the quarterfinals.
The Brazilians say they won't be worried about playing beautiful football.
"It's always good to play well, but the only thing we need right now is a result that will keep us in the tournament," striker Fred said. "We need to win, then we can start worrying about getting better and playing the type of football the fans like to watch."
Fred scored the 89th-minute equalizer in the 2-2 draw with Paraguay, allowing Brazil to enter the match in Cordoba in a better position to advance. Had it lost, the team's place in the second round would have depended on other results.
"It's a decisive game, we need to come through no matter what," goalkeeper Julio Cesar said. "I don't care how we are going to do it. It doesn't matter. If we win by half a goal, we will take it. We have to focus on our bigger goal."
Brazil struggled in the draws against Venezuela and Paraguay and its players are not expecting an easier match against Ecuador, which needs a victory to have any chance of advancing to the second round.
"We all know it's going to be another difficult match for us," striker Alexandre Pato said. "We have the responsibility to win and we will need to fight until the end to get the result we want."
Venezuela is the surprise leader in Group B and has already secured a spot in the quarters with four points, two more than Brazil and Paraguay. Ecuador is last with one point. Paraguay and Venezuela will play in Salta on Wednesday, with the Paraguayans needing a victory to lock a place in the next round.
The top two teams in each of the three groups advance, plus the best two third-place teams. Colombia also advanced from Group A along with Argentina. Chile and Peru also have guaranteed their place in the second stage.
Uruguay, another title favorite after reaching the World Cup semifinals last year in South Africa, has to get past Mexico in its final group match to advance.
Brazil had a setback on Tuesday when defensive midfielder Sandro was forced to drop out of the squad after tests on his injured knee.
Coach Mano Menezes hasn't said whether he will play with two or three strikers up front against Ecuador. He used Robinho in attack in the 0-0 draw with Venezuela in the team's opener, but replaced him with midfielder Jadson against Paraguay.
"We will wait until game time to announce the lineup," Menezes said.
Brazil is trying to win its third straight Copa America. It beat Argentina in the last two finals _ in 2004 in Peru and in 2007 in Venezuela.
Menezes is revamping the national team in preparation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He brought a squad filled with young promising players such as Neymar, Paulo Henrique Ganso and Lucas.
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Updated : 2021-04-13 01:16 GMT+08:00