Brazil beats Honduras 1-0 in final warmup for Copa America
Jun. 11, 2015
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) — Boosted by the return of Neymar, Brazil defeated Honduras 1-0 on Wednesday in its final warmup before traveling to Chile for the Copa America.
Neymar, who joined the squad on Monday after helping Barcelona win the Champions League, entered the match at halftime, when Brazil was already ahead thanks to Roberto Firmino's 33rd-minute goal at the Beira-Rio Stadium.
Neymar had missed Brazil's win over Mexico in a warmup in Sao Paulo on Sunday.
Brazil didn't threaten too much despite controlling the game played in steady rain. Honduras played well at times and created a few good scoring chances. Some fans jeered the Brazilian team after the final whistle.
"We eased off the throttle a bit because we know the Copa America is the most important things for us," veteran Brazil striker Robinho said. "The team is practically ready. We've been improving match after match, and the tendency is for us to do well in the Copa America."
Firmino broke the deadlock with a left-footed shot from inside the area after a perfect feed from left back Filipe Luis. It was Firmino's third goal with Brazil's national team.
Neymar had a goal disallowed because of offside early in the second half, and he came close to scoring in the 65th when his shot from inside the area was barely saved by the goalkeeper.
Brazil coach Dunga made several changes to the starting lineup from the team that beat Mexico, replacing midfielder Elias and striker Diego Tardelli with Casemiro and Firmino.
Right back Danilo, who injured his ankle against Mexico, missed the game and is in danger of not recovering in time for the Copa America.
"Unfortunately Danilo got hurt, but I'm prepared to play, I'm taking advantage of this opportunity," said replacement Fabinho.
Barcelona's Daniel Alves is expected to be called up by Dunga to replace Danilo in the Copa America squad.
Brazil had already lost other players because of injuries ahead of the tournament in Chile, including playmaker Oscar, left back Marcelo and defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo. Robinho didn't play against Mexico because of a knee injury but entered Thursday's match in the 71st.
Brazil's opening match in the South American tournament is against Peru on Sunday, with Colombia and Venezuela the other teams in Group C. The team travels to Chile on Friday.
Brazil has won four of the past six Copa Americas, including two of the past three, and will be eager to put on a good showing in its first official competition since the humiliating 7-1 defeat by Germany in last year's World Cup semifinal.