A very changed Brazil failed to win for the first time in 11 games, but are still qualifying for Group B for the Copa America quarterfinals on Sunday after a 1-1 draw with Ecuador in Goiania.
The draw at an empty stadium in central Brazil marked the first time Brazil has not won since losing 1-0 to Argentina in a friendly in November 2019.
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The host country had already qualified for first place in Group B and rested on a series of tactics, with Gabriel Barbosa, Everton, Douglas Luiz, Fambino and Douglas Luis having a chance from the start.
Lucas Paqueta was a brilliant presence in a team that lost Neymar’s creativity, but most of the substitutions failed to impress, although Brazil scored 1-0 at halftime thanks to the successful header of defender Eder Militao.
Brazil had won the first three games of the group, but were suddenly upset for the first 15 minutes of the second period and substitute Angel Mena equalized for Ecuador with an amazing move after 53 minutes.
As soon as Casemiro replaced Douglas Luiz after just one hour, Brazil regained their composure.
Nevertheless, neither side made many clear chances and as a tie suits both teams the game fell slightly.
“We knew it would be a difficult game,” Paqueta said.
“In the first half we managed to neutralize their style of play and pass the ball around and score (but) in the second half they scored and that complicates the way we play. The goal was to win, but the main goal was to finish in the first. position and we did that. “
With Peru defeating Venezuela 1-0 in the other Group B game, they entered Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador in the quarterfinals as they left Venezuela.
The Venezuelans were hit hard in the early stages of the tournament when at least eight players showed a positive for COVID-19 and had to be isolated.
The quarterfinal matches will be decided on Monday after the last round of Group A matches.
Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay have already secured their place in the last eight but the final round of the games will decide who will play who.
Bolivia has already left, having lost all three of its games so far.
“From now on every game is final,” said Paqueta, “and we have to give everything to win.”