The Brazilian national team will play in Copa America as per media reports on Monday, ending rumors that the Brazilian team would boycott the tournament. The threat of boycotting tournament came after the hosting duties given to Brazil, while the pandemic ravages most areas of South America.
As the Athletic reports, the CONMEBOL president held a Zoom meeting on Sunday, with several federation presidents and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, urging them to pressure Casemiro and coach Tite to participate in the competition. Argentina has also officially confirmed their participation in the competition on Monday, making it very likely that Brazil will miss out on the oldest competition beginning on June 13.
There has been plenty of political debate around the tournament due to Brazil’s handling of the pandemic. Columbia and Argentina couldn’t host the competition due to political unrest and the pandemic. Brazil has the second-largest death toll, which draws a lot of attention to CONMEBOL’s decision to change hosts to Brazil.
The selection of Brazil as hosts ended widespread speculation that had pegged the United States as a viable destination for the tournament. CONMEBOL did not publicly acknowledge that possibility, but reports throughout South America and stateside gained significant momentum within the past week.
The games will happen in four cities in Brazil. Apart from those in Rio, the three other host stadiums are all located in the Brazilian interior: Brasília, Goiânia, and Cuiabá. In Rio, the Estadio Nilton Santos will be in use for every game except for the final, which will take place at the famed Maracaná.
The 2021 Copa América may provide unforgettable footballing moments as global stars like Messi, Neymar, Alexis Sánchez, Edinson Cavani, and Luis Suárez will lineup for their respective nations. However, it will be marred in controversy as it’s played behind closed doors in a country with a staggering coronavirus death toll.