Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Junior searching for balance and consistency in Brazil´s Copa America opener

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Jun 2024

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Brazil head coach Dorival Junior insists his team is yet to find the right balance and consistency but is hoping to discover the right mix against Costa Rica in their Copa America opener on Monday.

The 62-year-old, who succeeded interim boss Fernando Diniz in January, is yet to taste defeat in his four games in charge (W2 D2), identified areas of improvement as they look to claim their 10th tournament success.

“I have to find a balance for a team that was put together only three months ago, and after a certain period of 15 or 20 days of work they have to find themselves again,” Junior said.

“In football you don’t skip preparation phases in training, but that’s why we try to accelerate each one of them to have a consistent and confident squad that can then use the individuality of its players to create opportunities.”

Much of the talk heading into their opener with Costa Rica is the inclusion of 17-year-old Endrick, who officially becomes a Real Madrid player next month.

Endrick has scored three goals in his last four international appearances, but Dorival called for patience in rushing him into the starting line-up, revealing he is expected to play his part from the bench.

“It’s something that will happen naturally. It might not take long because he is extremely skillful. I’m in a hurry to get him on the pitch, but you have to have a certain balance. He has excellent skills and is one of the most promising players.”

For Costa Rica head coach Gustavo Alfaro, he aims to build on his previous success in the Copa America having guided Ecuador to the quarter-finals in 2021.

Los Ticos have lost 10 of their 11 meetings against their opponents, with their last victory coming in the Panamerican Championship in March 1960 (3-0).

But Alfaro insisted his side would not be intimidated by the challenge awaiting them, saying: “The hierarchy (of Brazil) is respected, but not feared. If you’re afraid to play, you don’t show up.

“The difference in hierarchy can be fought, first with order, with a lot of determination and a lot of conceptual clarity about what needs to be done, and basically by running. If there are two Brazilians, there must be three Costa Ricans,” he added.

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