Porto Alegre (Brazil): Brazil coach Tite admitted on Thursday he fears the injustice of a penalty shoot-out as the hosts prepare to face Paraguay in the Copa America quarterfinals on Friday.
Brazil are haunted by the spectre of penalty shoot-outs against Paraguay having twice been eliminated by their western neighbours in that exact manner, at this very stage of the Copa America.
In 2011, Paraguay edged Brazil 2-0 on penalties and went on to reach the final in Argentina, losing to Uruguay in the title match.
And four years later in Chile, they repeated the trick, 4-3 on spot-kicks, although that time they were thrashed 6-1 by Argentina in the semi-finals.
“I’ll never feel calm in a penalty shoot-out, I’ll never change my mind on that,” said Tite, at a press conference at the Gremio Arena in Porto Alegre.
Nevertheless, assistant coach Cleber Xavier said the Selecao “practised penalties today and tomorrow we’ll start talking about the strategy for that.”
Collectively, Brazil as a nation is paranoid at the prospect of Paraguay turning up on the bobbly Gremio Arena pitch and playing for penalties, adopting an aggressive and defensive approach in the hope of reaching the spot-kick lottery.
Tite expects Paraguay to line up with “two lines of four, one linking player with a lot quality – a second striker like (Miguel) Almiron – then (Federico) Santander or (Oscar) Cardozo at center-forward.”...