Colombia beat Brazil 1-0 last night in the Copa América, Los Cafeteros’ first win over the South American giants since 1991. But instead of the impressiveness of the feat (and Brazil’s continued struggles) taking center stage, the kerfuffle that broke out after the final whistle has overshadowed the game.
In the video above, you can see the controversial incidents. Right as the game ended, a frustrated Neymar booted the ball into the back of Pablo Armero. (Lest you wonder where some of this animus stemmed from, don’t forget that it was Colombia’s Juan Zúñiga who cracked Neymar’s spine last summer.) When Jeison Murillo came up to confront him about it, Neymar weakly headbutted Murillo. Seeing this, Carlos Bacca came from behind Neymar and shoved him, before the other players on both teams amassed around the players and pretty much broke things up. As Neymar made his way back to the locker room, the referee came over and showed him a red card. The ref then made his way over to Bacca and did the same.
Neymar had already received a yellow card in the game, his second of the tournament, and thus was set to miss Brazil’s third and final group stage match. Today, Copa América officials announced that the Brazilian will be suspended an additional game because of the red card.
On one hand, this kind of sucks, even if it was deserved. There’s a great chance Brazil either fail to make it out of their group (out of the three groups, the top two teams advance, as well as the best two third-place ones; in Group C, Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia all sit on three points ahead of Peru with zero, though Venezuela and Peru don’t play their second group match until tonight) or are bounced in the first knockout round since they’re pretty much garbage without Neymar. Watching Neymar lift a bad Brazil team by practically doing everything himself was one of the primary appeals of the Copa, and now we might not see it happen anymore.
On the flip side, another high-profile flame-out, this time under the leadership of Dunga, could be just what Brazil need to can his ass and try to address some of the structural problems keeping them from reaching their potential. Or at least it might persuade them to hire a manager more interested in empowering his players to go and attack the opposition’s goal rather than attacking their legs.