Made in check by Venezuela last Thursday (0-0), after an inaugural victory against Bolivia (3-0), Brazil will face this Saturday in Peru. The opportunity for Philippe Coutinho to continue shining in the absence of Neymar.
On June 6, the Brazilian Federation announced the Neymar package, touched the right ankle in the friendly against Qatar (2-0), for the Copa America. With the absence of its star, Brazil inevitably weakened offensively in its quest for a continental crown on its soil. Philippe Coutinho had to assume his responsibilities. And it will still be expected this Saturday against Peru (21h), qualifying for the quarter-finals to be validated.
Coutinho finally in the light?
The America's Cup is, in fact, a golden opportunity for him to get out of the shadow of his friend Neymar, who he rubs under the auriverde shirt since the age of 15, in the "92 generation" with Casemiro. and Alisson. In the opening match against Bolivia (3-0), he came out on top with a double of two goals in just three minutes after the break: one goal from the penalty shootout and one from the lead. Enough to smile after a year and a half silenced next to Barcelona since their transfer XXL from Liverpool in January 2017. € 145 million bonus for 21 goals and 11 assists in 76 games. The balance is insufficient. Enough to imagine a match this summer. In the direction of Manchester United, Chelsea (if the blues lift the recruiting ban) or … the Paris Saint-Germain, with the Catalan press evoking more or less baroque exchanges with Neymar Jr.
"Coutinho? We need him, especially without Neymar"
Meanwhile, his ancient demons also took the game against Venezuela, Coutinho remained silent. "He was well-marked, the opposing defense closed the center and lost the ball," coach Tite said. "We have to create alternatives and I'm sure they (Coutinho and Firmino) will recover," he added, before pointing out, thanks to his many possibilities as a sentinel (Allan, Fernandinho, Casemiro), he wants to align a game plan leaving a greater freedom for Coutinho.
Two goals canceled by the refereeing video, the boos at the end of the game: Brazil, host country and great favorite of this Copa America, in any case, took his feet on the carpet in Salvador, against La Vinotinto. The Seleção, who could have guaranteed their qualification for the quarterfinals in the event of a win, will therefore have to show a better face against Peru on Saturday in Sao Paulo. Out of inspiration, the Brazilians heard the Fonte Nova audience play "olé!" Every touch of the ball … Venezuelan at the end of the game. And the Seleção was again whistled, as in the interval of the opening match.
Like at the height of Liverpool?
"All of us have been imitated or applauded, we are not beginners. The whistles do not help us, Brazil is the loser," lamented Filipe Luis after the match. In total, Brazil had three objectives denied at this meeting. Philippe Coutinho was careful not to criticize the VAR, which for him serves to "do justice", urging his teammates to "remain calm and focused" on their goals. "We have tried everything from the beginning but today it did not work, we have no excuse, we have to work to improve," said Barcelona. Faced with Peru and without Neymar, who also spent greeting his comrades on Friday, Coutinho will be expected by the fans but also by his team mates, as Paris captain Thiago Silva said: "In our team, it is ( Coutinho) a reference, even more in the absence of Neymar.In the first friendly, I tried to convey a bit of serenity.I also asked Neymar to help him. "To instruct Coutinho to make a whole people blush with pleasure, as in their best hours under the reds of Liverpool. Kickoff this Saturday night at 9:00 p.m.