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Brazil 4-1 Paraguay (29 Jun, 2024) Game Analysis Byllun


Vinícius Júnior scored two first-half goals to lead Brazil to a 4-1 victory over Paraguay in Las Vegas Friday and put itself in position to advance out of Group D in the Copa América.

Sávio also scored a first-half goal for Brazil and Lucas Paquetá scored on a penalty kick in the second half. Omar Alderete scored Paraguay’s goal.

There were plenty of tense moments with five yellow cards and a red handed out. Andrés Cubas was sent off for a red card in the 81st minute, forcing Paraguay to play the last part of the match down a man. 

The victory was quite a response for the Seleção, who opened the tournament Monday with a scoreless draw against Costa Rica despite outshooting their opponent 18-2. It was also a significant response from Vinícius, after he was criticized following his performance against Costa Rica for failing to reproduce his Real Madrid form for his country.

It was Vinícius’ first non-penalty goal for Brazil since scoring against South Korea at the 2022 World Cup and his first multi-goal game in what was his 32nd appearance.

“I always say that I never play for myself, I will always play for my team,” Vinícius said in an on-field interview following the game. “When I’m playing for Brazil I play for my country, I always try to do the best things but it’s not always possible.

“And today I managed to play a great game at the level of a player that I am. And I know that I can still improve a lot to help the Brazilian team, to help this team that works hard every day to be able to put Brazil in the place it deserves. We will continue to work hard to achieve this goal, which is to win the Copa América.”

Vinícius Júnior answered his critics with two goals in Brazil’s win over Paraguay.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

With four points, Brazil is two behind already-qualified group leader Colombia, which defeated Costa Rica 3-0 earlier Friday. A victory or tie by Brazil against Colombia on Tuesday ensures one of the group’s two spots in the knockout stage. Brazil also has a six-goal differential advantage over Costa Rica, so a loss likely won’t keep out the nine-time Copa América champions.

Brazil has had its difficulties against Paraguay in Copa América play, having drawn in their previous five meetings. That tied for the second-longest unbeaten streak against Brazil in this tournament, which Paraguay also was part of from 1963-83.

But Brazil won the most recent meeting, defeating Paraguay 4-0 two years ago in World Cup qualifying, and there was little doubt about the outcome of this match after two late first-half goals broke the game open.

From the whistle, Vinícius’ pace and trickery posed a constant threat to Paraguay down the left flank, a far cry from his display against Costa Rica, in which he was largely ineffectual.

Despite Brazil’s strong start, it was Paraguay which almost went ahead in the 15th minute as Damián Bobadilla‘s goal-bound effort took a massive deflection off Éder Militão and nearly wrongfooted Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who showed quick reflexes to keep out the strike.

Brazil earned a 28th-minute penalty for a handball, which was fired wide by Paquetá, but the midfielder made up for his miss seven minutes later as he set up Vinícius with a first-time pass to cap off a flowing team move.

Girona winger Sávio doubled Brazil’s advantage after pouncing on a rebound inside the box, before Vinícius stuck out a boot to divert a clearance from Alderete into the net for his second goal of the night in first half stoppage time.

Paraguay got a goal back after the break as Alderete netted a superb long-range, but any hopes of a comeback were swiftly dashed when Brazil was awarded a penalty in the 68th minute after a handball by Mathías Villasanti.

Despite his earlier miss, Paqueta stepped up and made no mistake at the second time of asking to send Brazil’s fans at the Allegiant Stadium into delirium.

Toward the end of the match, tempers flared and Cubas was shown a red card after kicking out at Douglas Luiz, with Brazil using its man advantage to comfortably see out the game and clinch the three points.

“In particular the first half, up to the 40 minutes, it was very even,” Paraguay coach Daniel Garnero told reporters.

“I think we created some opportunities. Unfortunately, in the three minutes we got a bit distracted and they scored two goals that made a great difference in the result. And Vinícius is an elite player, no doubt about it.”

Information from The Associated Press, Reuters and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.

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