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Sports Brazil searches for right target man for Copa America

02:23  11 june  2021
02:23  11 june  2021 Source:   thecanadianpress.com

EURO 2020: Euro 2020 will usurp Copa America in Brazil

  EURO 2020: Euro 2020 will usurp Copa America in Brazil SAO PAULO (AP) — When it comes time for Brazilians to choose who to watch on the soccer field this month — Neymar or Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo — the response might be surprising. Because of an unusual set of circumstances, it will be the European Championship that reaches more viewers in Brazil than the Copa America — even though Brazil is expected to host South American the tournament under a completely different set of unusual circumstances. TV Globo, which is accessible to 99.47% of Brazilians, doesn't have the rights to broadcast Copa America this year but has exclusive rights to show Euro 2020 matches on its free channel and digital platforms.

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil has always produced some of the best goal scorers in soccer.

a man with a football ball © Provided by The Canadian Press

But as the Copa America approaches, Brazil coach Tite knows he doesn't have a Ronaldo or Romario type of target man to rely on.

Instead, Tite is split between four options going into Sunday's opener against Venezuela in Brasilia.

Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Richarlison and Gabriel Barbosa are in contention. Combined, they have scored 45 goals for the national team. In contrast, Neymar has 66 by himself.

Brazil has struggled to find a world-class striker since the 2006 World Cup, when an out of shape but still deadly Ronaldo played his fourth and last edition. The team's target men in the last three World Cups scored only four goals in 17 matches.

'It is time to strike' - Messi out for Copa America revenge and this time it's personal

  'It is time to strike' - Messi out for Copa America revenge and this time it's personal The Albiceleste captain was incensed by the manner of his team's elimination in Brazil two years ago and now has another chance to claim the trophyIncensed at what he and many of his compatriots saw as biased refereeing during the Albiceleste's semi-final defeat at the hands of hosts and eventual winners Brazil, the Barcelona star then saw red after going toe to toe with fearsome Chile enforcer Gary Medel in the third-place play-off.

Jesus had zero in 2018, Fred scored once in 2014 and Luis Fabiano netted three in 2010.

Brazil coach Tite sees the Copa America as a key preparation for next year's World Cup, and it's a great opportunity for one forward to stake a claim to a starting place in Qatar.

“Gabriel Barbosa fluctuates and he can have a very strong finishing power. Jesus is a natural, he can get to the wings and (do well) in one-on-ones. ... Richarlison too," Tite said before the 2-0 win at Paraguay on Tuesday in World cup qualifying. "And Firmino is a No. 9 who also becomes a 10 and gives you a connection with Neymar.”

Tite's first choice until recently was the 24-year-old Jesus. He scored 14 goals in 42 matches for Manchester City this season, a figure he acknowledged was disappointing. The Brazilian recently said he was affected by COVID-19 earlier in the year.

Committed Brazil a favorite to defend Copa America title

  Committed Brazil a favorite to defend Copa America title SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s international players were reluctant to play in the Copa America on home soil. Now that they’re committed, they're favored to win it. Argentina still looms as a threat to Brazil's title defense, but now as a visiting team. Argentina and Colombia were dropped as tournament co-hosts before Brazil contentiously stepped in late to stage the continental championship. Being away from home takes some pressure off Lionel Messi and his Argentina team. The Copa America will kick off Sunday with defending champion Brazil against Venezuela at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia.

The 29-year-old Firmino had his lowest scoring season since he joined Liverpool in 2015, with only nine goals in 48 matches.

Richarlison had a better club season, scoring 13 goals in 40 matches for Everton. But Tite believes the 24-year-old is better as a winger, meaning he is a substitute for Neymar — who did not play in the 2019 Copa America due to injury.

Out of Brazil's 16 goals in World Cup qualifiers, Firmino and Richarlison scored three each. Jesus has none. He is unlikely to start for Brazil unless Tite chooses to use him as a winger, giving a central position to Neymar, as he did in the win at Paraguay.

Many Brazilian fans would like to see Barbosa, known as Gabigol, given a chance. A flop at Inter Milan and Benfica, the 24-year-old Barbosa has been a massive success at Flamengo since returning home two years ago.

Barbosa scored 38 goals in 52 matches for his club in 2020. This year he netted 13 goals in 12 matches, though the more competitive Brazilian championship is yet to start.

Barbosa started in Brazil's 2-0 win against Ecuador but did not score.

If none of the forwards can deliver, Brazil will have to keep depending on Neymar for its goals.

"National teams build themselves over time, that's what they are like," Tite said. "We don't have a lot of time together. And sometimes even during a match we will have to look for alternatives.”

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Mauricio Savarese, The Associated Press

The Seleção "against the Organization of the American Copa", but does not boycott .
© provided by Sofoot it was time to hear the main actors. While the Supreme Court of Brazil must definitively decide this Thursday if the American Copa will argue on its soil or not, the Seleção of Neymar and Tite has stimulated to clarify its position, among the attempts at various political recovery and Varied .

usr: 0
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