BUENOS AIRES - Brazil will be strong when
they stage the World Cup in 2014, coach Mano Menezes said on
Monday after his team's shock Copa America quarter-final
The holders were beaten on penalties by Paraguay, following
hosts and co-favourites Argentina out of a tournament that has
been turned on its head by traditional lesser lights of South
Brazil squandered a string of chances before missing four
penalties in the decisive shootout to lose it 2-0.
"I'm very firm in my self-criticism [but] Brazil won't get
to 2014 tottering, they'll get there strong," Menezes told
reporters at his squad's tournament base outside Buenos Aires.
Menezes, appointed last year after predecessor Dunga's
failure to get past the World Cup quarter-finals, does not plan
"I think that to change [coach] doesn't resolve anything.
Argentina have been changing quite a lot in the last few years
and that didn't resolve Argentina's problem," Menezes said.
His Argentine counterpart Sergio Batista has also pleaded a
lack of time to work on his team, although the debate in local
media runs much deeper including fears of worse to come after
ineffective changes dating back to the Marcelo Bielsa and Nestor
Pekerman era that ended at the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals.
Paraguay's Argentine coach Gerardo Martino said Brazil
deserved to win. "It had been a long time since I last saw a
Brazil team play as well as yesterday."
He also pointed to the bizarre quarter-finals results,
saying: "Generally the best team wins but there can be a reverse
result [although] it doesn't usually happen as continuously as
in this Copa."
Menezes said that young forwards through whom he is planning
to revive Brazil's traditional attacking virtues, like Neymar,
Paulo Henrique Ganso and Alexandre Pato, had been fast-tracked
into the side due to injuries to more experienced players like
Luis Fabiano and Adriano.
"We had to accelerate the process and that, without any
doubt, may explain the small hiccups, instabilities as opposed
to the consistency we want," he said.
Brazil should have won in the 90 minutes. Paraguay did not
have a single shot on target to Brazil's half-dozen and their
goalkeeper Justo Villar was the man of the match.
This was a pattern throughout the quarter-finals with Lionel
Messi's Argentina creating more than Uruguay and going out on
penalties, Colombia coming closer than Peru before losing in
extra-time to two shots from outside the box and Chile
succumbing to the vastly improved Venezuela.
Chile, regarded by many rival coaches as having played the
best football of the tournament, had the chance of a lifetime to
end their wait to lift the Copa America after finishing
runners-up four times. They were virtually a home side in
Mendoza and San Juan just across the Andean border.
They laid siege to Venezuela's goal but could only find an
equaliser before a defensive mistake allowed their opponents to
snatch a second, late winner.
Their Argentina coach Claudio Borghi said he was unhappy to
have lost but said "I don't feel let down, the team played well
and we progressed with numerous secondary objectives."
All the coaches have talked of the tournament as being more
a testing ground in preparation for the gruelling two-year World
Cup qualifying campaign than a goal in itself.
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