Lucas Paquetá

Paqueta up for central midfield switch

Image for Paqueta up for central midfield switch

Brazil’s 2024 Copa América journey began with a lacklustre 0-0 draw against Costa Rica in Group D, held in Los Angeles, California at SoFi Stadium. West Ham’s own Lucas Paquetá came tantalizingly close to scoring when his powerful left-footed shot from distance struck the post in the second half.

Paquetá was a key figure throughout the match, setting up multiple scoring opportunities. He assisted Real Madrid’s Rodrygo, who missed the target, and had his own attempts — a shot and a header — veer off course before the break. Paq-man played in a slightly deeper position for the star studded Brazil side and when asked how he enjoyed his No8 role, Paqueta cryptically quipped that he loved playing there! Food for thought for a certain Julen Lopetegui.

Despite Paqueta dictating play, there was plenty of frustration for Brazil, a team with nine Copa América titles, continued as Marquinhos had a goal disallowed for offside. The Paris Saint-Germain defender’s disappointment was palpable as his effort was nullified.

In the later stages, Paquetá orchestrated further attacks, including setting up Atlético Mineiro’s left-back Guilherme Arana and Rodrygo again, but both were denied by stellar saves from Costa Rica’s goalkeeper, Patrick Sequeira.

Amidst persistent pressure, Bruno Guimarães, Paquetá’s close friend and Newcastle United midfielder, also tried his luck with a forceful shot that sailed over the bar. Despite their efforts, Brazil couldn’t overcome Costa Rica’s resolute defence, resulting in a historic draw for Costa Rica against one of football’s giants.

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